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Cock-crow

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The Hebrews divided the night into four watches: 1, The “beginning of the watches” or “even” (Lam. ii. 19); 2, “The middle watch” or “midnight” (Judg. vii. 19); 3, “The cock-crowing;” 4, “The morning watch” or “dawning” (Exod. xiv. 24).

“Ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning.”—Mark xiii. 35.

⁂ The Romans divided the night into sixteen parts, each one hour and a - half, beginning at midnight. The third of these divisions (3 a.m.) they called gallicinium, the time when cocks begin to crow; the next was conticinium, when they ceased to crow; and fifth was diluculum, dawn.

Probably the Romans sounded the hour on a trumpet (bugle) three times, and if so it would explain the diversity of the Gospels: “Before the cock crow” (John xiii. 38, Luke xxii. 34, and Matt. xxvi. 34); but “Before the cock crow twice” (Mark xiv. 30)—that is, before the “bugle” has finished sounding.

Apparitions vanish at cock crow. This is a Christian superstition, the cock being the watch-bird placed on church spires, and therefore sacred.


“The morning cock crew loud,


And at the sound it [the Ghost] shrunk in haste away,

And vanished from our sight.”


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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Cock
Cock and Bottle
Cock and Bull Story
Cock and Pie (By)
Cock of Hay (A)
Cock of the North
Cock of the Walk
Cock-a-hoop
Cock apace
Cockboat
Cock-crow
Cock-eye
Cock-fighting
Cock-horse
Cock Lane Ghost
Cock-pit
Cock Sure
Cock the Ears (To)
Cock the Nose
Cock up your Head [foot, etc.]
Cock your Eye (To)