from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective of a gun Not fully cocked
  • adjective of a plan, etc. Not fully prepared


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • I learned the origin of the term "going off half-cocked" recently. On muskets, you half-cock to put the gun in a position of safety. You can't pull the trigger when it's half-cocked (you literally can't, it won't move, unless of course the gun is malfunctioning). Half-cock is a safe position to handle the weapon, march with it, load powder into the pan, etc. When you go off half-cocked it means you're ill-prepared, and a little stupid.

    Similar origin to "flash in the pan."

    October 20, 2007

  • Ever since reading Neal Stephenson's System of the World trilogy, I always think of "Half-cocked Jack" when I run across this word. What an amazing character- (and plot-) developer Stephenson is!

    October 20, 2007

  • Oh my gosh, I lurve half-cocked Jack. I completely forgot about that connotation!

    Of course, he wasn't given that name because he was... uh... ill-prepared.

    October 21, 2007

  • C_b, there seem to be quite a few common figures of speech that were originally related to firearms & such. Have you thought about making a list?

    Signed, Too Lazy to See Whether You Have Already

    October 22, 2007

  • reesetee... you know what? That's a damn good idea. If I haven't already done so.

    Signed, Too Lazy to Check Even My Own Lists.

    October 23, 2007

  • know. When you get to it.

    October 23, 2007