Word of the Day : April 22, 2014

cock-a-hoop

play
adjective kah-kuh-HOOP

Definition

1 : triumphantly boastful : exulting

2 : awry

Did You Know?

The adjective "cock-a-hoop" comes from a curious 16th- and 17th-century expression, "to set cock a hoop," which meant "to be festive" or "to drink or celebrate without restraint." Etymologists, however, are not entirely certain about the origin of that old expression. Although no one knows if it originally had any connection with the "rooster" sense of "cock," many people thought it did-and this perceived association influenced the current meaning of "cock-a-hoop." The cock is known for its triumphant crow, and "cock-a-hoop" is now used to refer to something triumphantly boastful.


Examples

The driver's pit crew was cock-a-hoop as they watched her cross the finish line to victory lane.

"The cock-a-hoop pride and sensitivity of these former colonials were mere annoyances, almost impossible to take seriously for a nation with a world war to win." - From Patricia Brady's 2011 book A Being So Gentle: The Frontier Love Story of Rachel and Andrew Jackson



Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "perforce," our Word of the Day from March 21? The answer is …


Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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