go off half-cocked

From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From the days of flintlock and caplock firearms, where the half-cock position of the hammer was both a rudimentary safety, and the proper position for priming the pan or inserting a percussion cap. The phrase was originally rendered, "to go off at half-cock."


  • (file)


go off half-cocked (third-person singular simple present goes off half-cocked, present participle going off half-cocked, simple past went off half-cocked, past participle gone off half-cocked)

  1. (idiomatic, colloquial): To take a premature or ill-considered action.
    Make sure none of your men go off half-cocked and ruin this operation.

See also[edit]