Definition of half-cock in English:

half-cock

noun

  • The partly raised position of the cock of a gun.

    ‘although the hammer has a half-cock position, I would not carry this pistol with a chambered round’
    • ‘Gone was the half-cock notch on the hammer and instead of bringing the hammer to half-cock to rotate the cylinder, it could now be revolved simply by opening the loading gate.’
    • ‘Let's assume someone is loading the revolver properly with the hammer at its half-cock position.’
    • ‘As he listened to their conversation, through a bug he planted, he pulled the hammer of his revolver back to half-cock and gently pushed out the loading gate.’
    • ‘It was later differentiated from the ‘true’ flintlock by firearms scholars for whom the ‘true’ and original snaphaunce lock had a steel separate from the pan cover and a cock incapable of the half-cock safety position.’
    • ‘With the old Colt, it was possible to place the hammer on half-cock, rotate the cylinder, listen for the click and know that the chamber was lined up perfectly under the loading gate for either shucking a fired round or reloading a fresh one.’

Phrases

  • at half-cock

    • 1(of a gun) with the cock partly raised.

      • ‘We test that by putting the hammer at half-cock, then suspending the gun by the trigger, so that the entire weight of the gun is bearing on the half-cock.’
      • ‘Should I keep it at half cock with the safety on?’
      1. 1.1When only partly ready.
        ‘the postponement saved the army from setting off another attack at half-cock’
        • ‘Unfortunately for the British, its plans had been revealed to the Haganah and the operation went off at half-cock.’
        • ‘Which is that this is a competition gone off at half-cock, or rather, two competitions misfiring in unison.’
        • ‘Never one to approach life at half-cock, she has indulged herself in jaunts here and there and the occasional spectacular jolly.’
        • ‘We've got this brand spanking-new ship working at half-cock.’
        • ‘Scott Barron and Owen Casey persisted with the annoying gesture in a meaningless one-set knock-up against McEnroe and Jeremy Bates, despite the fact that the foreign pair were probably on court under sufferance, and at half-cock.’
        rashly, overhastily, hastily, too soon, too early, precipitately, precipitously
        View synonyms

Pronunciation

half-cock