- (of a firearm) at the position of half cock.
- lacking mature consideration or enough preparation; ill-considered or ill-prepared; half-baked.
- go off half-cocked, to act or happen prematurely: He went off half-cocked and told everyone the news.Also go off at half cock.
Origin of half-cocked
First recorded in 1800–10
- to set the hammer of (a firearm) at half cock.
Origin of half-cock
First recorded in 1825–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for half-cocked
But here again, Perry is not the half-cocked yahoo his critics assume.Rick Perry’s Secret Weapon
August 29, 2011
Robin opened one eye—the one toward the house—and half-cocked an ear.
I've told you they won't go off half-cocked as long as Westfall is on the job.Spacehounds of IPC
Edward Elmer Smith
Alone, she might have gone off half-cocked in an emotional tizzy.Highways in Hiding
George Oliver Smith
"If you're going off half-cocked, then we both are, Dave," he said quietly.Dave Dawson at Casablanca
Robert Sydney Bowen
He is the most level-headed member of 162 the family, and would not fly off half-cocked.Molly Brown's Post-Graduate Days
- (of a firearm) at half-cock
- on a single-action firearm, a halfway position in which the hammer can be set for safety; in this position the trigger is cocked by the hammer which cannot reach the primer to fire the weapon
- go off at half-cock or go off half-cocked
- to fail as a result of inadequate preparation or premature starting
- to act or function prematurely
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012