coxcomb


an arrogant show-off

TRANSLATION

coxcomb = Eitler Narr, Stutzer, Weiberheld —— coxcombry = eitle Prahlerei, geckenhaftes Verhalten

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“He was a simpering COXCOMB of the first water, and the ‘loudest’ dressed man in the state."

Samuel Langhorne Clemens — Sketches by Mark Twain, Wikisource (16th July 2021)

Did you
know?

coxcomb (cockscomb)
noun

-  a silly, vain, foppish fellow

- a conceited, foolish dandy

- a man overly concerned with his appearance

Collins Dictionary / Wikipedia


WORD ORIGIN

"Cock" refers to a rooster or male chicken. In Middle English "cock" was a nickname for a boy or young man.

"Comb" is the red fleshy crest or wattle on the head of a rooster or chicken. It dates back to around 1200 from the Old English "camb".

"Coxcomb" originally referred to the crest on a rooster's head. By the 1570s it started being used figuratively to refer to a foolish, conceited person or "vain fool".
"Cockscomb" is an alternative spelling that is sometimes used interchangeably with coxcomb. The word "cockscomb" dates back to the late 16th century.

In summary, the word originated from referring to the actual red comb or crest on a rooster's head. Since this comb could be quite flamboyant, the word eventually became associated with vain, foolish and conceited qualities in people. The "cock" part of the word refers back to roosters being given the nickname "cock" in medieval times. The meaning evolved from a physical comb on a rooster to denoting metaphorical human vanity.


DANDY OBSERVATIONS

— The journalist Alistair Cooke once asked Bertrand Russell his opinion of future prime minister Anthony Eden. "Not a gentleman," Russell replied, "...dresses too well."

— Famous dandy Beau Brummell once decided to refrain from eating vegetables. Sometime later he was asked if he had ever eaten some. "Yes, madam", he replied, "I once ate a pea."

— Mme de Stael and the beautiful Mme Recamier once found themselves seated at an elegant dinner on either side of a young dandy. "Here I am,” he declared, "between wit and beauty." "Quite so”, Mme de Stael replied, "and without possessing either."


SYNONYMS

Beau Brummell, bright young thing, clotheshorse, COCKSCOMB, dapper fellow, dressy dude, dude, fancy dan, fashion monger (plate), fop, gallant, gay blade, boy, glitzy dude, glamour/golden/spruce boy, gold-leafer, snazzy/sporty/swell guy, haute stuff, head turner, high styler, jazzbo, joe elegant, man about town, natty/snappy dresser, Oscar Wilde type, peacock, perfecto, prince charming, quaintrelle, shining knight, sparkly/spiffy person, strutter, swanker, vanilla dude, wardrobe consultant, zoot suiter


SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation, say something like:

“You can usually spot a COXCOMB a mile away — the other day we saw someone on a bike wearing a bowler hat, polka-dot trousers, and an oversized fur coat.”


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