halfcock

half-cock

[haf-kok, hahf-]
verb (used with object)
to set the hammer of (a firearm) at half cock.

Origin:
1825–35

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
half-cock
 
n
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
 a.  to fail as a result of inadequate preparation or premature starting
 b.  to act or function prematurely

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