half cock

noun

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

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The first known use of half cock was in 1745

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