The bottom line is that, although I like the Irish Gaelic “caog” theory for its simplicity, the existence of “to cock one’s eye” tends to bolster the case for “cockeyed” having some connection, albeit several times removed, to the behavior of roosters.

Page 2 of 2 | Previous page

8 comments on this post.
  1. Bill:

    I just did a tour of a grist mill, and aparently ‘cock eyed’ comes from a miller. There is a pin im the middle of a mill stone upon which the top grimd stone sits. This pin is called the cock. The upper grind stone rests on this pin at a divot in the bale which supports the weight of the stone. This divot is called the eye. In order for a mill and its grindstone to work properly, the upper grindston must be perfectly ballanced so that it spins on the cock without any wobble. If it wobbles, it will create sparks and ruin the wheet or corn being ground. So a grind stone must be ‘cock-eyed’ in order to work properly. A miller needs to keep their ‘nose to the grindstone’ in order to tell if their stone is burning the grain or corn, because it is a very apparent smell.

  2. Elinor Dandrea:

    Think Bill has got it right. These sayings usually come from something practical, more than personal

  3. Slightly Cockeyed | Older Eyes:

    […] the way, word cockeyed has a very interesting etymology you can read about on The Word Detective, here.  Getting back to the subject of this post (mainly me), I’ve known for a long while that […]

  4. gerald d sellers:

    I was asked what it meant my reply when I don’t know is always. Well in the book of sellers is says,” Cockeyed means to cock eyes to one side and probably came about with flint hammer lock guns and black powder. because back then when you shot your gun you got awful powder burns anyway. So you cock your gun, take aim and turn your eyes slightly befor you pull the trigger. Because powder burns in the eyes will blind you. So when you were ready to pull the trigger you just moved your eyes to a safe place while still looking at the target but not right down the middle just off to the left side a bit (cockeyed)

  5. Mary-Lou M:

    I always thought “cock-eyed” mean “wall-eyed” (or crazy). It seems that all sources go back to using one eye over the other, as a cock (rooster) does when looking at something close up. Poultry, like most prey animals, have eyes on opposite sides of their head, so they can see predators coming from both sides. If they want to focus on food, they use one eye.

  6. John Kurtz:

    I think cockeyed did originate with rooster behaviour. When you have too many
    Roosters they fight for dominance and you end up with some one-eyed young roosters ,
    Hence the term cockeyed.

  7. Sharon:

    Growing up in California in the 1970s I was raised to learn the slang “cock-eyed” as a term for something that is off-centered. So that is how I’ve used the slang through the years

  8. Rick Geggie:

    Is it true that some indigenous cultures see people with eyes that aim in different directions as people who see into many different dimensions and ‘worlds’?
    Would having to ‘rooster’ give more neural data than the more common having to just integrate data from two sources not that divergent?
    Does ‘cockeyed’ refer to divergent, non-ordinary perspectives?
    What are the benefits and gifts of being Cock-Eye for you?
    The biggest gift for me is being me, not pretending to be like other people. Enjoying my uniqueness.
    Try to be cock-eyed. Parents are misinformed about lots of things.

Leave a comment