- to set the hammer of (a firearm) at half cock.
Origin of half-cock
First recorded in 1825–35
- (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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- 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
- (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