The name 'cop' is a nickname given to police officers, whose traditional uniforms were lined down the front with copper buttons. They used to be called 'coppers,' which soon became shortened to cops.

I think I'm a definite minority in my age group, but I don't have any large problem with cops. Even though I walk around looking like a damned skinhead, they don't give me any trouble. They've helped me out when I needed it and have been pretty cool and understanding when the neighbors call them to shut down our parties.

There's a little bit of nonsense being spoken here about how the word cop came to be used as a name for policeman.

The word actually derives from the word 'cap' used in Scotland and the North of England and was used to mean 'arrest' ie: 'Cap him, Sir!'

By the 18th century, across the whole of the North, this had transformed itself into 'cop'. Soon in was standard slang for 'policeman'.

OK!

This has to be true because I read it in The Daily Telegraph.

Another etymology that has often been suggested for the word "cop" is that it was simply an acronym for "Constable on Patrol".

Cop can also mean 'to steal', 'to win' ("cop second place"), or 'to understand' ("I don't cop you"). Cop appears in an unusual number of English idioms in both America and the UK.

Among the many English idioms which include 'cop' are:


COP stands for:
Certificate of Participation
Change Of Plan
Change Of Plea
and
Chief Of Police

Cop (?), n. [AS. cop; cf. G. kopf head. Cf. Cup, Cob.]

1.

The top of a thing; the head; a crest.

[Obs.]

Cop they used to call The tops of many hills. Draton.

2.

A conical or conical-ended mass of coiled thread, yarn, or roving, wound upon a spindle, etc.

3.

A tube or quill upon which silk is wound.

4. Mil. Arch.

same as Merlon.

5.

A policeman.

[Slang]

Cop waste, a kind of cotton waste, composed chiefly remnants of cops from which the greater part of the yarn has been unwound.

 

© Webster 1913.

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