About This Word

cock on

or cock-on

[kok on]

What does cock on mean?

Looking for a fun new dirty slang term? Well, this isn’t it.

Cock on is something like the British slang of on point, meaning that it is "exactly right" or "first rate." Cock on can mean "keep up the good work" and as an interjection, it means "Just perfect!" or "Agreed!"

The slang isn't to be confused with cock-up, which means quite the opposite (and also has nothing to do with penises): a "mishap" or "to bungle."

Related words:

See how it's used

cock on

123RF.com

Where does cock on come from?

The origins of cock on are a bit cock-eyed. It seems to come from UK youth slang in the 1990s and 2000s.

It may have to do with the phrase cock it on, apparently an early 1900s expression meaning "to exaggerate." And, then there's the nickname for roosters—cocks ... and their stereotypical arrogance and all that.

Other historic expressions that cock on stirs up include the 16th-century cock-a-hoop, a "state of exuberance or excitement," based on medieval keg-tapping, which can get one full cock, or "completely drunk." Definitely one to use at your next rager.

The Phrase Finder

Then there's cock for all things "penis," also based on ... the rooster.

Weirdly enough, Green's Dictionary of Slang, a bible for the slang underground, finds cock on in 2001 in British playground speech. That's ... creepy.

Who uses cock on?

Saying cock on outside the UK (and Commonwealth countries) might get you in trouble with your HR department.

British English speakers, though, use cock on in a variety of ways in slang speech and writing.

They might describe something as cock-on, meaning "just right" or "great."

They might crow cock on in support of someone or something they agree with, often in a cheeky manner.

Or, they might tell someone to cock on, which has shades of "don't give up" or "keep it up."

For example

Last nights show was cock on & the ending.... 😂😂😂  

@PaulBailes11, May, 2018

Come home to fish and chips after a shite day #cockon

@KieLatham, January, 2014  

Cock on! Beautiful old pub, extensively restored and beautifully so. Limited but comprehensive menu, food cooked well and beautifully presented by staff that seem to care. Recommended.

Andrew S., Trip Advisor (review), April, 2018

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