American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A conceited dandy; a fop.
- n. Obsolete A jester's cap; a cockscomb.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The comb of a cock. See cockscomb, 1.
- n. The comb, resembling that of a cock, which licensed fools formerly wore in their caps; hence, the fool's cap itself.
- n. The top of the head, or the head itself.
- n. A fop; a vain, showy fellow; a conceited and pretentious dunce.
- n. A kind of silver lace frayed out at the edges.
- n. Same as cockscomb, 2. Synonyms Coxcomb, Fop, Dandy, Exquisite, Beau, prig, popinjay, jackanapes. The first five are used only of men. The distinguishing characteristic of a coxcomb is vanity, which may be displayed in regard to accomplishments, looks, dress, etc., but perhaps most often as to accomplishments. Fop is not quite so broad as coxcomb, applying chiefly to one who displays vanity in dress and pertness in conversation, with a tendency to impertinence in manner. Dandy is applied only to one who gives excessive attention to elegance and perhaps affectation in dress. An exquisite is one who prides himself upon his superfine taste in dress, manners, language, etc., when a fair judgment would be that his taste is overwrought, petty, or affected. (See quotation from Bulwer, under exquisite.) Beau is an old name for one who has too much understanding to be a mere dandy, but still overdoes in the matter of dress, sometimes carrying it to an extreme, as Beau Nash, Beau Brummel. Beau Brummel might perhaps be called the typical fop.
- n. obsolete The cap of a court jester, adorned with a red stripe.
- n. A foolish or conceited person; a dandy.
- n. The fleshy red pate of a rooster.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A strip of red cloth notched like the comb of a cock, which licensed jesters formerly wore in their caps.
- n. The cap itself.
- n. The top of the head, or the head itself.
- n. A vain, showy fellow; a conceited, silly man, fond of display; a superficial pretender to knowledge or accomplishments; a fop.
- n. (Bot.) A name given to several plants of different genera, but particularly to Celosia cristata, or garden cockscomb. Same as Cockscomb.
- n. the fleshy red crest on the head of the domestic fowl and other gallinaceous birds
- n. a cap worn by court jesters; adorned with a strip of red
- n. a conceited dandy who is overly impressed by his own accomplishments
- From Middle English cokke's comb lit. "the comb of a cock" (Wiktionary)
- Middle English cokkes comb, crest of a cock : cokkes, genitive of cok, cock; see cock1 + comb, crest; see comb. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“_celebrated gentleman_ made on a very eminent physician: 'He is a coxcomb, but a _satisfactory coxcomb_.”
“He is also of an ancient family; but, in his person and manners, more of what I call the coxcomb than any of his companions.”
“The libel suit brought against him by Whistler, whom he described as a coxcomb who flung a pot of paint in the face of the public, is still talked about in”
“No, no, no! Never was there so bright a turn in my fate as when this titled coxcomb, with his smooth voice and gaudy fripperies, came hither!”
“God’s sake, gentlemen;” when the governor rose from table in great dudgeon, and left the room, muttering some ejaculation, of which the word coxcomb only could be distinctly heard.”
“But the moral reflections upon tea-tables, the description of Amiana's, where only wit and good humor prevail, and the satirical portraits of a titled coxcomb and a bevy of fine ladies, are all in the manner of the “Tatler.””
“It was a family triumvirate, formed of an old Bachelor, whose cent per cent ideas predominated over every other, wheresoever situated or howsoever employed; his maiden Sister, prim, starch and antiquated; and their hopeful Nephew, a complete coxcomb, that is, in full possession of the requisite concomitants -- ignorance and impudence, and arrayed in the first style of the most exquisite dandyism.”
Real Life In London, Volumes I. and II. Or, The Rambles And Adventures Of Bob Tallyho, Esq., And His Cousin, The Hon. Tom Dashall, Through The Metropolis; Exhibiting A Living Picture Of Fashionable Characters, Manners, And Amusements In High And Low Life (1821)
“And a coxcomb is a jester's hat, for those of us who aren't versed in obsolete English.”
“However, the jury thought that he went too far in his phrase "nearly approached the aspect of wilful imposture," and probably the word "coxcomb" was fatal, for it was irrelevant.”
“The critics were exceedingly bitter at this; and having very little to say against the poem, the Court journals called the author a "coxcomb," and the liberal ones "the son of a pantaloon!”
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