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cop1

[kop]
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verb (used with object), copped, cop·ping. Informal.
  1. to catch; nab.
  2. to steal; filch.
  3. to buy (narcotics).
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Verb Phrases
  1. cop out,
    1. to avoid one's responsibility, the fulfillment of a promise, etc.; renege; back out (often followed by on or of): He never copped out on a friend in need. You agreed to go, and you can't cop out now.
    2. cop a plea.
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Idioms
  1. cop a plea,
    1. to plead guilty or confess in return for receiving a lighter sentence.
    2. to plead guilty to a lesser charge as a means of bargaining one's way out of standing trial for a more serious charge; plea-bargain.
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Origin of cop1

1695–1705; compare cap (obsolete) to arrest, Scots cap to seize ≪ dialectal Old French caper to take, ultimately < Latin capere
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for cop a plea

cop1

noun
  1. another name for policeman
  2. British an arrest (esp in the phrase a fair cop)
  3. an instance of plagiarism
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verb cops, copping or copped (tr)
  1. to seize or catch
  2. to steal
  3. to buy, steal, or otherwise obtain (illegal drugs)Compare score (def. 26)
  4. Also: cop it to suffer (a punishment)you'll cop a clout if you do that!
  5. cop it sweet Australian slang
    1. to accept a penalty without complaint
    2. to have good fortune
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See also cop off, cop out

Word Origin

C18: (vb) perhaps from obsolete cap to arrest, from Old French caper to seize; sense 1, back formation from copper ²

cop2

noun
  1. a conical roll of thread wound on a spindle
  2. mainly dialect the top or crest, as of a hill
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Word Origin

Old English cop, copp top, summit, of uncertain origin; perhaps related to Old English copp cup

cop3

noun
  1. British slang (usually used with a negative) worth or valuethat work is not much cop
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Word Origin

C19: n use of cop 1 (in the sense: to catch, hence something caught, something of value)

COP

abbreviation for (in New Zealand)
  1. Certificate of Proficiency: a pass in a university subject
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cop a plea

cop

v.

1704, northern British dialect, "to seize, to catch," perhaps ultimately from Middle French caper "seize, to take," from Latin capere "to take" (see capable); or from Dutch kapen "to take," from Old Frisian capia "to buy," which is related to Old English ceapian (see cheap). Related: Copped; copping.

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cop

n.

"policeman," 1859, abbreviation of earlier copper (n.2), 1846, from cop (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with cop a plea

cop a plea

1

Plead guilty or confess to a crime in exchange for a lighter sentence; also, plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for not being tried for a more serious charge. For example, Arnold decided he was better off copping a plea than facing a jury. [Colloquial; 1920s]

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2

Plead for mercy; make excuses. For example, He copped a plea about not knowing his way around. [Slang; c. 1940]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.