late 14c., "come to blows with," from Old French couper, earlier colper "hit, punch," from colp "a blow" (see coup). Meaning evolved 17c. into "handle successfully," perhaps influenced by obsolete cope "to traffic" (15c.-17c.), a word in North Sea trade, from the Flemish version of the Germanic source of English cheap. Related: Coped; coping.
cope 1 (kōp)
v. coped, cop·ing, copes
To contend with difficulties with the intent to overcome them.