cop-out

[ kop-out ]
/ ˈkɒpˌaʊt /

noun Informal.

an act or instance of copping out; reneging; evasion: The governor's platform was a cop-out.
a person who cops out: Everyone helped as they had promised, except for one cop-out.

Origin of cop-out

First recorded in 1940–45; noun use of verb phrase cop out

Definition for cop out (2 of 2)

cop

1
[ kop ]
/ kɒp /

verb (used with object), copped, cop·ping. Informal.

to catch; nab.
to steal; filch.
to buy (narcotics).

Verb Phrases

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.

Origin of cop

1
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. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for cop out (1 of 5)

cop out

/ slang /

verb

(intr, adverb) to fail to assume responsibility or to commit oneself

noun cop-out

an instance of avoiding responsibility or commitment
a person who acts in this way

Word Origin for cop out

C20: probably from cop 1

British Dictionary definitions for cop out (2 of 5)

cop

1
/ (kɒp) slang /

noun


verb cops, copping or copped (tr)

See also cop off, cop out

Word Origin for cop

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

British Dictionary definitions for cop out (3 of 5)

cop

2
/ (kɒp) /

noun

a conical roll of thread wound on a spindle
mainly dialect the top or crest, as of a hill

Word Origin for cop

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

British Dictionary definitions for cop out (4 of 5)

cop

3
/ (kɒp) /

noun

British slang (usually used with a negative) worth or valuethat work is not much cop

Word Origin for cop

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

British Dictionary definitions for cop out (5 of 5)

COP

abbreviation for (in New Zealand)

Certificate of Proficiency: a pass in a university subject

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

Idioms and Phrases with cop out

cop out

Back out of a responsibility or commitment; also, take the easy way out. For example, Don't count on him; he's been known to fake illness and cop out, or She'll cop out and let her assistant do all the work. These meanings are derived from the underworld slang use of cop out for backing down or surrendering. [Late 1950s]


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