Superficially, "a clockwork orange" was just some lingo that author Anthony Burgess overheard among old Londoners. In Anthony Burgess's own words in the introduction entitled "A Clockwork Orange Resucked," the title refers to a person who "has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil or (since this is increasingly replacing both) the Almighty State." In other words, and again Burgess's own, it stands for the "application of a mechanistic morality to a living organism oozing with juice and sweetness." So, basically, it refers to a person who is robotic behaviorally but one that is, in all other respects, human. The title is significant not only because Burgess references it about, say, 1,000 times throughout the book, but also because it sums up what threatened our protagonist-narrator so much. Oops. Did that get your attention?