coldcock / cold cock / cold-cock

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coldcock / cold cock / cold-cock

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:26 am

<2008 “He shoot his own dog. And then he tosses the gun down and cold-cocks the guy.”—The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, page 78>
COLDCOCK / COLD COCK / COLD-COCK: verb transitive (U.S. slang) [1910s and still in use]: To render unconscious, as with a sudden blow to the head; to knock out. [[also used figuratively]]

Etymology: Origin uncertain. Perhaps from hammering caulking in to ship’s seams [[Say what? Hammer ‘caulking’—> knock unconcioius???]]. Or possibly from the fact that an unconscious man has a ‘cold’ penis and will be dysfunctional [[This sounds more like it!]].

(Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, Chapman’s Dictionary of American Slang, Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, Hippie Dictionary: A Cultural Encyclopedia of the 1960s and 1970s by J. B. McCleary)

The following quotes are from the Historical Dictionary of American Slang and archived sources:
<1918 “Coldcock. To knock unconscious usually with a blackjack. ‘F dat goddam orderly rats on us, we’ll coldcock 'im sure.”—American Speech, October 1933, page 25>

<1957 “I’d been had, been set up. . . I was cold cocked.”—Room to Swing by E. Lacy, page 68>

<1976 “I coldcocked him with a left hand to the head.”—CB Baby by Whelton, page 4>

<1990 “They’d been . . . cold cocked like an unsuspecting high school kid in his first bar fight.”—38 N. Yankee by Ruggerom, page 38>

<2001 “His favored intellectual haunts are ‘the dark and bloody crossroads where literature and politics meet,’ and one knows only too well what usually happens there: Literature gets blind-sided, coldcocked, and thrashed within an inch of its sorry life.”—The American Spectator, 1 February>

<2007 “The [[Washington]] Redskins were done – cold-cocked, 27-3.”—Washington Post (D.C.), 18 September>

<2012 “. . . former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker offered a grim take on how five years of recession and slow recovery have coldcocked cities and counties across the country.”—National Journal, 2 August>

Ken G – September 15, 2012

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