[ haf-kok, hahf- ]
/ ˈhæfˈkɒk, ˈhɑf- /

verb (used with object)

to set the hammer of (a firearm) at half cock.

Nearby words

  1. half-caste,
  2. half-cell,
  3. half-century,
  4. half-circle,
  5. half-closed,
  6. half-cocked,
  7. half-completed,
  8. half-concealed,
  9. half-conscious,
  10. half-convinced

Origin of half-cock

First recorded in 1825–35


[ haf-kokt, hahf- ]
/ ˈhæfˈkɒkt, ˈhɑf- /


(of a firearm) at the position of half cock.
lacking mature consideration or enough preparation; ill-considered or ill-prepared; half-baked.

Origin of half-cocked

First recorded in 1800–10

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for half cocked



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
  1. to fail as a result of inadequate preparation or premature starting
  2. to act or function prematurely



(of a firearm) at half-cock
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