Cock-a-hoop

Meaning

What does Cock-a-hoop mean?

One can use the adjective cock-a-hoop when extremely excited or triumphantly pleased with something, especially an achievement.

Origin

What's the origin of Cock-a-hoop?

According to one theory, the adjective derives from the 16th-century phrase “to set (the) cock on (the) hoop” meaning “to turn on the tap and let the liquor flow”.

The first remained record of the phrase in written form can be found in A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation written by English humanist Thomas More in 1553.

In 1549 Andrew Borde used the phrase in the meaning “to abandon oneself to carefree enjoyment”.

However, Hensleigh Wedgwood provides a different theory in A Dictionary of English Etymology in 1865, saying:

“Cockahoop. Elated in spirits. A metaphor taken from the sport of cock-throwing used on festive occasion”.

Spread & Usage

How did Cock-a-hoop spread?

The adjective was most popular in the first few decades of the 19th century, but never fully went out of fashion.

However, some say that according to Craig Ferguson’s The Late Late Show it was popularized slowly from the millennium until roughly 2013.

However, it can still be seen even in printed media on a regular basis, especially in sports news.

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