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half-cock

[haf-kok, hahf-] /ˈhæfˈkɒk, ˈhɑf-/
verb (used with object)
1.
to set the hammer of (a firearm) at half cock.
Origin
1825-1835
1825-35
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for halfcock

half-cock

noun
1.
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
2.
go off at half-cock, 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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