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half cock

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noun
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.
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Origin of half cock

First recorded in 1695–1705

Other definitions for half cock (2 of 2)

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

verb (used with object)
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. 2022

How to use half cock in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for half cock

half-cock

noun
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
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
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