Suppose someone comes to you and without any prior word / introduction / necessary measures wants you to make friends with them.


at the beginning of a great TV program, a TV reporter or showman without any prior word / introduction / necessary measures starts to speak. Is there any fixed term in English for such a situation? I'm sure there should be such a term, but I don't know what is that and how a native speaker would indicate this "doing / beginning something without.....".

  • 1
    Impromptu, extemporaneous, spontaneous, or unpremeditated all kind of work, but I think there's a better word that really fits what you're asking. Which of course, I can't recall at the moment ...
    – Andrew
    Nov 21, 2016 at 17:15

2 Answers 2


go off half-cocked
(figurative) to go into action too early or without thinking. (Originally refers to a flintlock or matchlock gun firing prematurely, before the trigger was pulled.)
Don't go off half-cocked. Plan out what you're going to do.
Bill went off half-cocked and told everybody he was running for the state legislature.

This website says We now commonly use 'go off at half-cock' or, in America, 'go off half-cocked', to mean 'speak or act impulsively and without proper preparation'. But I think that's probably written by an American who mistakenly supposes anything strange-sounding or archaic must be British. As this NGram shows, go off at half-cock never had any significant currency.

You'll also notice from that NGram that go off half-cock (no at, no -ed) is far from unknown. This is because in most spoken contexts it would be almost impossible for native speakers to hear that -ed anyway, so if they're not familiar with the origin they wouldn't necessarily realise it's a "past tense verb" being used adjectivally. But competent native speakers wouldn't usually get that "wrong".


To initiate something would possibly describe both of the scenarios you mention. Initiate in this case meaning to cause the beginning of something, or to cause an event to begin.

  • 2
    But "initiate" just means "to start". I think the OP is asking specifically about starting things without proper setup or introduction.
    – stangdon
    Nov 21, 2016 at 18:52
  • Yesss @stangdon . Thank you for helping me to convey the message in my question. :)
    – A-friend
    Nov 22, 2016 at 8:58

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