half cock


Definition of half cock

1 : the position of the hammer of a firearm when about half retracted and held by the sear so that it cannot be operated by a pull on the trigger
2 chiefly British : a state of inadequate preparation or mental confusion go off at half cock

First Known Use of half cock

1745, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about half cock

Statistics for half cock

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for half cock

The first known use of half cock was in 1745

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on half cock

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with half cock

Comments on half cock

What made you want to look up half cock? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!