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.


    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.

Origin of cop

1695–1705; compare cap (obsolete) to arrest, Scots cap to seize ≪ dialectal Old French caper to take, ultimately < Latin capere Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for copped

Contemporary Examples of copped

Historical Examples of copped

  • "Why, he copped the copper's kale," Aggie translated, glibly.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The risk is bigger for me than for you, and I'm not going to be copped—no, not for anybody.'

  • The copped hat had no brim, and was about a foot and a half in height.

  • We were billeted at an estaminet that had copped it pretty thick.

    A Lively Bit of the Front

    Percy F. Westerman

  • An then I copped it and crawled back in an out more shell-holes.

    Grapes of wrath

    Boyd Cable

British Dictionary definitions for copped




another name for policeman
British an arrest (esp in the phrase a fair cop)
an instance of plagiarism

verb cops, copping or copped (tr)

to seize or catch
to steal
to buy, steal, or otherwise obtain (illegal drugs)Compare score (def. 26)
Also: cop it to suffer (a punishment)you'll cop a clout if you do that!
cop it sweet Australian slang
  1. to accept a penalty without complaint
  2. to have good fortune
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




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 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)


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

Word Origin and History for copped



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.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper