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.

1940–45; noun use of verb phrase cop out Unabridged


1 [kop]
verb (used with object), copped, copping. Informal.
to catch; nab.
to steal; filch.
to buy (narcotics).
Verb phrases
cop out,
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.
cop a plea.
cop a plea,
to plead guilty or confess in return for receiving a lighter sentence.
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.

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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cop1 (kɒp)
1.  another name for policeman
2.  (Brit) an arrest (esp in the phrase a fair cop)
3.  an instance of plagiarism
vb , cops, copping, copped
4.  to seize or catch
5.  to steal
6.  Compare score to buy, steal, or otherwise obtain (illegal drugs)
7.  Also: cop it to suffer (a punishment): you'll cop a clout if you do that!
8.  slang (Austral) cop it sweet
 a.  to accept a penalty without complaint
 b.  to have good fortune
[C18: (vb) perhaps from obsolete cap to arrest, from Old French caper to seize; sense 1, back formation from copper²]

cop2 (kɒp)
1.  a conical roll of thread wound on a spindle
2.  dialect chiefly the top or crest, as of a hill
[Old English cop, copp top, summit, of uncertain origin; perhaps related to Old English coppcup]

cop3 (kɒp)
slang (Brit) (usually used with a negative) worth or value: that work is not much cop
[C19: n use of cop1 (in the sense: to catch, hence something caught, something of value)]

abbreviation for
Certificate of Proficiency: a pass in a university subject

cop out
1.  (intr, adverb) to fail to assume responsibility or to commit oneself
2.  an instance of avoiding responsibility or commitment
3.  a person who acts in this way
[C20: probably from cop1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1704, northern British dialect, "to seize, to catch," perhaps from M.Fr. caper "seize, to take," from L. capere "to take" (see capable); or from Du. kapen "to take," from O.Fris. capia "to buy."

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

cop out
by 1942, n. and v., "sneak off, escape," Amer.Eng. slang, probably from cop a plea (c.1925) "plead guilty to lesser charges," probably from northern British slang cop "to catch" (a scolding, etc.); cf. cop a feel "grope someone" (1930s); see cop (v.). Sense of "evade an issue
or problem" is from 1960s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
  1. coefficient of performance

  2. Colombia—peso

The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

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® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Privatizing it is a cop out and will not yield meaningful results.
The first is a cop out so you don't have to bother to think.
Using any performance enhancing substances is a cop out and should be dealt
  with harshly.
It is a cop out and covers to profit from sad situation under the guise of
  engagement to have some control over relation.
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