half-cock

[haf-kok, hahf-]

Origin of half-cock

First recorded in 1825–35

half cock

noun
  1. the position of the hammer of a firearm when held halfway between the firing and retracted positions by a mechanism so that it will not operate.

Origin of half cock

First recorded in 1695–1705
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for half-cock

Historical Examples of half-cock


British Dictionary definitions for half-cock

half-cock

noun
  1. 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
  2. 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
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