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cog1

[kog, kawg]
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noun
  1. (not in technical use) a gear tooth, formerly especially one of hardwood or metal, fitted into a slot in a gearwheel of less durable material.
  2. a cogwheel.
  3. a person who plays a minor part in a large organization, activity, etc.: He's just a small cog in the financial department.
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verb (used without object), cogged, cog·ging.
  1. (of an electric motor) to move jerkily.
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verb (used with object), cogged, cog·ging.
  1. to roll or hammer (an ingot) into a bloom or slab.
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Idioms
  1. slip a cog, to make a blunder; err: One of the clerks must have slipped a cog.
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Origin of cog1

1200–50; Middle English cogge, probably < Scandinavian; compare Swedish, Norwegian kugg cog
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for slip a cog

cog1

noun
  1. any of the teeth or projections on the rim of a gearwheel or sprocket
  2. a gearwheel, esp a small one
  3. a person or thing playing a small part in a large organization or process
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verb cogs, cogging or cogged
  1. (tr) metallurgy to roll (cast-steel ingots) to convert them into blooms
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Word Origin

C13: of Scandinavian origin; compare Danish kogge, Swedish kugge, Norwegian kug

cog2

verb cogs, cogging or cogged
  1. slang to cheat (in a game, esp dice), as by loading a dice
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Word Origin

C16: originally a dice-playing term, of unknown origin

cog3

noun
  1. a tenon that projects from the end of a timber beam for fitting into a mortise
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verb cogs, cogging or cogged
  1. (tr) to join (pieces of wood) with cogs
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Word Origin

C19: of uncertain origin
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

Word Origin and History for slip a cog

cog

n.

c.1300, "cog wheel;" late 14c., "tooth on a wheel," probably a borrowing from a Scandinavian language (cf. Norwegian kugg "cog") and cognate with Middle High German kugel "ball."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with slip a cog

slip a cog

Also, slip a gear or one's gears. Lose one's ability to reason soundly or make correct judgments, as in She must have slipped a cog or she would never have gone out barefoot in December, or What's the matter with him? Has he slipped his gears? These slangy usages allude to a mechanical failure owing to the cog of a gear or a gear failing to mesh. The first dates from about 1930, the variant from the 1960s.

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cog

In addition to the idiom beginning with cog

  • cog in the wheel

also see:

  • slip a cog
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.