cop-out

[kop-out]
noun Informal.
1.
an act or instance of copping out; reneging; evasion: The governor's platform was a cop-out.
2.
a person who cops out: Everyone helped as they had promised, except for one cop-out.

Origin:
1940–45; noun use of verb phrase cop out

Dictionary.com Unabridged

cop

1 [kop]
verb (used with object), copped, copping. Informal.
1.
to catch; nab.
2.
to steal; filch.
3.
to buy (narcotics).
Verb phrases
4.
cop out,
a.
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.
b.
cop a plea.
Idioms
5.
cop a plea,
a.
to plead guilty or confess in return for receiving a lighter sentence.
b.
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:
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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cop1 (kɒp)
 
n
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)
 
n
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)
 
n
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)]

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

cop out
 
vb
1.  (intr, adverb) to fail to assume responsibility or to commit oneself
 
n
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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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

cop
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."

cop
"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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Slang Dictionary

cop definition


  1. tv.
    to take or steal something. (Originally underworld.) : Somebody copped the statue from the town square.
  2. n.
    a theft. (Underworld.) : They pulled the cop in broad daylight.
  3. n.
    a police officer. (From sense 1.) : The cop wasn't in any mood to put up with any monkey business.
  4. tv.
    to arrest someone. (See also copped.) : They copped Sam with the evidence right on him.
  5. n.
    an arrest. : It was a smooth cop. No muss, no fuss.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
Cite This Source

cop out definition


  1. in.
    to plead guilty (to a lesser charge). (Underworld. See also cop a plea.) : I decided not to cop out and got a mouthpiece instead.
  2. in.
    to give up and quit; to chicken out (of (sth) ). : Why do you want to cop out just when things are going great?
  3. n.
    a poor excuse to get out of something. (Usually cop-out or copout.) : That's not a good reason. That's just a cop-out.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
COP
  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.
Cite This Source
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.
Cite This Source
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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