coldcock

Discuss word origins and meanings.
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coldcock

Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:55 pm

aaa
<2015 “‘We think he’s broke and so he sends a couple of goons to put the squeeze on you. For some reason you don’t want to be squeezed. They push, you coldcock them in broad daylight outside a courtroom. I like it.”’—Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham, page 260>
Nasty-sounding word! But it’s in the dictionary and it’s used by respectable people in respectable places – surprise to me!

OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY

COLDCOCK or COLD-COCK verb transitive, [[adjective]]: to knock (a person) unconscious (U.S. slang). [[usually by a blow to the head]]
<1927 Cold cocked, to be knocked senseless. ‘Tom was cold cocked when that rock hit him.’”—American Speech, Vol. 2, page 351/1>

<1934 “They cold-cocked him, and left him unconscious.”—The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan (1936) by J. T. Farrell, iv. page 205>
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The OED does not offer any discussion of origin. They don’t even say ‘origin unknown’ or ‘origin uncertain,’ I was hoping for something interesting like being hit in the head and knocked unconscious by a frozen penis. But alas they remain silent. I’ll try looking elsewhere:

CASSELL’S DICTIONARY OF SLANG

COLD-COCK also COLD-CAULK verb [1910s]: To knock unconscious [Standard English (out) cold, unconscious/knock cold]
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Cassell’s also offers no etymology - no ‘origin uncertain,’ no ‘origin unknown, - not even the possibility of being hit in the head with a wad of frozen or dried out caulking.
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One more try:

DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN REGIONAL ENGLISH

COLDCOCK also COLCOCK, COOLCOCK verb [cold - unconscious, senseless + cock (see verb 2)]

verb 2 (cock) [Etymology uncertain]: To hit someone hard, to knock someone out.
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So the etymology of this ‘cock’ verb is uncertain, therefore the etymology of coldcock is uncertain. C’est la vie! (>:)

Quotes from archived sources:

<1987 “They say we will fight them, and so we have to? And we win because someone slips us some brass knuckles so we can coldcock the guy?”—Chicago Sun-Times (Illinois), 9 October>

<1997 “In their turn, city planners, reluctant to relinquish control over the handsome complex, have aimed to coldcock the Beduin petition in its tracks and are earning an A in stonewalling.”—Jerusalem Post (Israel), 5 December>

<2000 “Grant intends to vent those feelings soon, at the expense of the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Grant intends to coldcock Lennox Lewis for what he has done, or at least for what Grant thinks he has done.”—The Boston Globe (Massachusetts), 13 February>

<2001 “In fact, George [[wrestler]] tells me he doesn't really like violence, not real unstaged violence, anyway. It's just that he feels the pressure of certain, as he calls them, natural needs. The need, for example, to coldcock his friend with a folding chair.

<2002 “ Women suffered plentiful indignities loving the Hoochie Coochie Man. Gordon's book is full of macho musical metaphors (‘as bracing as a coldcock punch’ etc)”—Scotland on Sunday (Edinburgh), 18 August

<2004 “It is fair to say that we haven't seen the John Kerry who can coldcock George Bush.”—The Economist (U.S.), 5 June>

<2008 “Calamitous decision-making might indeed be an indicator of trouble afoot. General irritability can be another, often manifesting itself as a desire to coldcock anything that moves.”—Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota), 18 April>

<2010 “There's Ohio State coach Woody Hayes, stepping out onto the field to coldcock that kid from Clemson in the Gator Bowl.”—Boston Herald (Massachusetts), 1 September>

<2014

“Did you ever see someone coldcock a blind nun?
"Well, I did. Two helpful idiots
"Steered her across the tarmac to her plane
"And led her smack into the wing.
"She deplaned with two black eyes and a crooked wimple,
"Bruised proof that the distinction is not simple
"Between ineptitude and evil."
(By Carolyn Kizer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet.)—AP Online, 14 October>
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Ken G – January 1, 2016
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Re: coldcock

Post by trolley » Fri Jan 01, 2016 10:43 pm

It's pretty common, around here. I've used it my whole life, without giving much thought to where it came from. These could be a stretch...but what about "like a dead bird" (a Norwegian Blue, for example)? Another idea could be "cold" in the sense of abruptly or completely (stopped cold) and "cocked", as in tilted, skewed or bent? You could quite easily get suddenly and completely angled from a well-placed uppercut!
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Re: coldcock

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:33 am

When you cock the hammer of a pistol, you draw it back in preparation for firing, just as one person who is about to slug another might draw back their forearm.

Drawing on Trolley's response, perhaps the notion behind cold-cocked is a blending of that association with the 'abruptly' sense of cold. To be more specific, maybe the coiner of the term had in mind the idea of preparing to hit someone like the hammer of a gun striking the cartridge, coupled with the suddenness of the striking action.
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Re: coldcock

Post by trolley » Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:08 am

That makes more sense. I have heard the expression "cocked his fists" meaning with his dukes up, drawn back, and ready to throw a punch.
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Re: coldcock

Post by Wizard of Oz » Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:59 pm

This is not a word you would hear in Aus. Never heard it used.

WoZ who has applied the coldcock in defence
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Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: coldcock

Post by Bobinwales » Sat Jan 02, 2016 5:18 pm

I sounds rude to me! I have not heard of it before, knocked cold, yes.
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: coldcock

Post by Wizard of Oz » Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:32 pm

Ken you never hear it till you hear it. There I was watching The Big Bang, to get a deeper understanding of physics, and Sheldon's Mummy has come to visit. She is praying in a church with all the others except Sheldon. She gives thanks to the lord for giving her Sheldon and then adds, "And the strength to have not coldcocked him with my Bible."

There you go.

WoZ who enjoys the TBB.
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Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: coldcock

Post by BonnieL » Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:28 pm

Wizard of Oz wrote:She gives thanks to the lord for giving her Sheldon and then adds, "And the strength to have not coldcocked him with my Bible."

There you go.

WoZ who enjoys the TBB.
I had that feeling today talking with my young adult daughter! I do love her - but sometimes... :)

I like TBB, too. No TV, so I don't get to watch it often.
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End of topic.
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