from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A conceited dandy; a fop.
  • n. Obsolete A jester's cap; a cockscomb.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The cap of a court jester, adorned with a red stripe.
  • n. A foolish or conceited person; a dandy.
  • n. The fleshy red pate of a rooster.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. A strip of red cloth notched like the comb of a cock, which licensed jesters formerly wore in their caps.
  • n. The cap itself.
  • n. The top of the head, or the head itself.
  • n. A vain, showy fellow; a conceited, silly man, fond of display; a superficial pretender to knowledge or accomplishments; a fop.
  • n. A name given to several plants of different genera, but particularly to Celosia cristata, or garden cockscomb. Same as Cockscomb.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The comb of a cock. See cockscomb, 1.
  • n. The comb, resembling that of a cock, which licensed fools formerly wore in their caps; hence, the fool's cap itself.
  • n. The top of the head, or the head itself.
  • n. A fop; a vain, showy fellow; a conceited and pretentious dunce.
  • n. A kind of silver lace frayed out at the edges.
  • n. Same as cockscomb, 2.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the fleshy red crest on the head of the domestic fowl and other gallinaceous birds
  • n. a cap worn by court jesters; adorned with a strip of red
  • n. a conceited dandy who is overly impressed by his own accomplishments


Middle English cokkes comb, crest of a cock : cokkes, genitive of cok, cock; see cock1 + comb, crest; see comb.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English cokke's comb lit. "the comb of a cock" (Wiktionary)



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  • As to the bill, I had nothing to do with it but to pay it. Down went a pistole upon the table, and the waiters pocketed the difference, which was somewhat more than a quarter. After this display of grandeur I strutted out, practising those obstreperous clearings of the throat which announce, by empty sound, the approach of a substantial coxcomb.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 8 ch. 3

    I love Smollett's use of substantial.

    October 3, 2008

  • also may be spelled "cockscomb"

    September 18, 2008

  • '"He's a cursed white-blooded pedantic coxcomb," said Will, with gnashing impetuosity.'

    - George Eliot, Middlemarch

    February 19, 2008