Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cock-up n.

[SE cock, to bend at an angle, but with undertones of cock n.3 (1), on the pattern of fuck-up n. (1), balls-up n.]

(orig. milit.) an error, a blunder.

[UK]K. Amis letter 5 Sept. in Leader (2000) 87: The postal service between the two countries is a cock-up.
[UK]C. Lee diary 25 Feb. in Eight Bells & Top Masts (2001) 70: He said, That’s right; the whole thing’s a cockup. We should never have got involved.
[UK]C. Lee diary 7 Mar. in Eight Bells & Top Masts (2001) 75: Made a bit of a cock of the Morse.
[UK]K. Richards journal 3 Jan. in Life (2010) 115: Cock-up. My pickup clapped out completely.
[Aus]M. Harris Angry Eye 129: It is the land of eternal cock-ups.
[UK]F. Taylor Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 109: A right old cock-up this evening was turning out to be.
[UK](con. 1960s) A. Frewin London Blues 147: There would be [...] no framing cock-ups arising from a parallax viewfinder.
[Aus]S. Maloney Big Ask 21: Just tell Sharpe it’s a typical piece of Herald mischief [...] Or a bureaucratic cock-up.
[Aus]Bug (Aus.) July [Internet] Blue reckons opting for [...] Josh Hannay at Wesser’s expense is tracks-covering for Maroon selection cock-ups in games one and two.
[UK]Oldie Jan. 13/2: He had been acquitted then, thanks to a cock-up made by a couple of greedy, bribe-seeking detectives.
C. Hammer Scrublands [ebook] ‘Some grand conspiracy?’ ‘I wish. More likely cock-ups and arse-covering’.