phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at


Posted by George Anderson on May 04, 2009 at 18:54

re "cock-up", your main page says this came into general use only in 20th century. I was an Excise Officer in Britain until I retired. For many years brewing duty was assessed by the brewer & checked by the exciseman who made irregular "surveys" of the brewery, recording the state of all the apparatus therein. The Excise Officer's record was always preferred over the brewer's, but the best of us can make a mistake. When an Officer did so, to show that he had made a genuine slip he would "cock up" (enter at a 45 degree angle) the next figure he entered. This causes me to wonder whether the origin of "cock-up" as meaning "mistake" may not have come from this practice.

  • Cock-up Victoria S Dennis 04/May/09