turn back the hands of time

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Senior Member
What does the bold text mean? Doesn't it simply mean "You can't turn back the clock" in a figurative meaning?

Hear, hear! But I guess it’s also cultural. I mean, when countries have been exercising that kind of punishment for so long, it’s hard to change. You can’t just turn back the hands of time, right?
  • Bil

    English USA
    Yes, you're right. The speaker is saying that it's impossible to physically return to the past with the purpose in mind of changing a cultural trait at its inception.


    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    What do hands have to do with clocks? I dimly recollect something, as if from a dream-- but my clocks have been digital since before I can remember.

    Sure you don't mean the sands of time? I still have one of those hourglass doodads, it's called an egg timer.
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