What Does Cock-A-Hoop Mean?

Cock-a-Hoop Meaning

Definition: Very pleased and boastful.

Origin of Cock-a-Hoop

This expression first appeared around the 1600s and is more common in British English than in American English.

The exact origin is unknown. However, some sources speculate that it relates to turning a tap to allow liquor to flow. In this interpretation, cock is synonymous with spigot and hoop with keg. This theory seems plausible because there were many bars named Cock and Hoop around that time, and some even exist today.

Other sources speculate that it relates to a cock in the sense of a rooster. This could make sense because people often think of roosters as crowing proudly.

Examples of Cock-a-Hoop

cock and hoop Nottingham In this example, a woman is talking about an excellent day that she had over the weekend.

Neha: I have wonderful news!

Tyrese: What happened?

Neha: Well, I’ve been dating Roger for four years now, and he finally popped the question!

Tyrese: He proposed?

Neha: He did! And I said yes, of course. Everyone thought he would eventually dump me and get back with Samantha, but this proves everyone wrong. I’m completely cock-a-hoop! We’ll be having the wedding in London late next year.

meaning of cock a hoop In this example, two office workers are discussing an exciting development in the employee break room.

Barry: Rachel, come quick!

Rachel: What is it? What’s wrong?

Barry: Nothing is wrong! Someone brought ice cream cake for Larry’s birthday. It’s in the break room!

Rachel: Well, that’s great!

Barry: I know! And I’ve lost enough weight on my diet that I can eat cake again, unlike that jerk Bob. I’m going to eat my slice of cake right in front of him, looking completely cock-a-hoop so that he feels jealous.

More Examples

This example is about a sports team that will be in high spirits.

  • The Lions in particular will be cock-a-hoop ahead of their clash after smashing title fancies Doncaster Phoenix in South Yorkshire 30-11 last Saturday. –Peterborough Telegraph

This excerpt is from an article about an art forger.

  • He was wrong: at auction, Greenhalgh’s Degas fetched more than £10,000. It was a life-changing sum of money for a teenager, but any sense of elation was tempered by remorse. “I wasn’t cock-a-hoop that I’d fooled them,” he says. “I’ve always had a tinge of guilt – I probably get that from my mother. Something within me knew it wasn’t right.” –The Guardian

Summary

The phrase cock-a-hoop is another way to say overjoyed or in high spirits and also has a connotation of being smug or proud.

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