[koop, koo p] /kup, kʊp/
an enclosure, cage, or pen, usually with bars or wires, in which fowls or other small animals are confined for fattening, transportation, etc.
any small or narrow place.
Slang. a prison.
Sometimes Facetious. a cooperative, especially the cooperative bookstore of a college or university.
verb (used with object)
to place in or as if in a coop; confine narrowly (often followed by up or in).
verb (used without object)
Slang. (of a police officer) to park and sleep inside one's patrol car while on duty.
fly the coop, Informal. to run off; depart abruptly; escape:
"We stopped to see my sister, but she'd flown the coop."
1250–1300; Middle English coupe basket, perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Norwegian kaup wooden can; akin to Old English cȳpa basket
Related forms
uncoop, verb (used with object)
Can be confused
co-op, coop, co-opt, coupe.
British Dictionary definitions for fly the coop
coop1 (kuːp)
1.  a cage or small enclosure for poultry or small animals
2.  a small narrow place of confinement, esp a prison cell
3.  a wicker basket for catching fish
4.  (tr; often foll by up or in) to confine in a restricted area
[C15: probably from Middle Low German kūpe basket, tub; related to Latin cūpa cask, vat]

coop or co-op2 (ˈkəʊˌɒp)
a cooperative, cooperative society, or shop run by a cooperative society
co-op or co-op2

the internet domain name for
a cooperative

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for fly the coop
O.E. cype, cypa "basket, cask," akin to M.Du. kupe, probably from L. cupa "tub, cask," from PIE *keup- "hollow mound." The verb is attested from 1560s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fly the coop in Culture

fly the coop definition

To get away or escape: “The Hendersons found the cocktail party rather dull and decided to fly the coop.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for fly the coop


  1. A jail or prison (1785+)
  2. place, esp a patrol car, where police officers sleep while on duty : all the cops will be in the coop (1960s+ Police)

: There were the cats, the milkmen, and the cops cooping in a police car at the corner


fly the coop, hencoop, in the coop, rain cats and dogs

[police senses based on earlier coop, ''any shelter used by the police to avoid the elements''; fr chicken coop]

fly the coop

verb phrase

To leave, esp to escape from confinement : He had flown the coop via a fire-escape/ Our Dubie done flew the coop (1910+)

Dictionary of American Slang
Copyright © 1986 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Related Abbreviations for fly the coop


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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Idioms and Phrases with fly the coop

fly the coop

Escape, run away, as in After years of fighting with my mother, my father finally flew the coop. This term originally meant "escape from jail," known as the coop in underworld slang since the late 1700s. [Late 1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Difficulty index for fly the coop

Few English speakers likely know this word

Tile value for fly

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