I was reading a short story, ( D.H. Lawrence’s The lovely lady) and I came upon this sentence: “ And in silence, in the dark, they walked down the garden and over the little bridge to the paddock, where the hay cut very late, was in cock.”
I’ve never encountered the usage of cock in this context.
The OED entries:
a. trans. (and absol.) To put up (hay, etc.) in cocks.
1393 Langland Piers Plowman C. vi. 13 Canstow..coke [v.r. coken] for my cokers [v.r. cokares, cokerus] oþer to þe cart picche?
1393 Langland Piers Plowman C. xxii. 238 And somme he tauhte to tulye, to theche and to coke.
1573 T. Tusser Fiue Hundreth Points Good Husbandry (new ed.) f. 50v, Take heede to the weather, the winde and the skye: if danger aprocheth, then cock a pace crye.
1624 Althorp MS. in J. N. Simpkinson Washingtons Introd. 57 To Gardner (and 10 others) 4 daies moying and one daie cocking brakes.
1686 R. Plot Nat. Hist. Staffs. ix. 353 They bind and cock it [sc. barley] as they doe Wheat and Rye.
1767 A. Young Farmer’s Lett. 214.
1834 Brit. Husbandry (Libr. Useful Knowl.) I. 495 It does not rake the grass into rows, nor cock it.
I did further research and found quite an extensive and varied use of the word. The link below is another demonstration how words can change into a dichotomy.
I guess it’s an example on how a word , over time, might change to an opposite meaning.