cocked hat meaning, cocked hat definition | English Cobuild dictionary

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cocked hat

  
     ( cocked hats    plural  )
1       n-count   A cocked hat is a hat with three corners that used to be worn with some uniforms.  
2    If you say that one thing knocks another thing into a cocked hat, you mean that it is much better or much more significant than the other thing.  
knock sthg into a cocked hat      phrase   V inflects  
This design knocks everything else into a cocked hat.     
Translation English Cobuild Collins Dictionary  
Collaborative Dictionary     English Cobuild
adv.
without any hesitation, delay or preparation ; instantly ; at the slightest signal/urging/pretext/provocation
Note: Probably alludes to the late 19th century common practice of signaling the start of a race or other contest by either dropping a hat or sweeping it in a rapid downward motion. Ex.: Call Mike if you need help; he can come at the drop of a hat / He was known for his generosity and kindness but when things were going wrong at work, he could turn nasty at the drop of a hat
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