Talk:cop

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What about cop a feel? Too much of a phrase rather than a term? Oh nevermind, there's a page for it anyways.160.94.27.139 18:02, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

What about "not much cop"?


The British have a phrase "it's a fair cop".

Consider the three terms: copper -- Great Britain security forces; cop -- modern, derogatory slang for a police officer; C.O.P.(corrupt officer of the peace) -- a New England term of dismissal for public servants found guilty of acts warranting their permanently removal from service. The term "copper" is heuristically distinct from the other two terms in that a "copper" was a well-respected individual. Also, the cultural roots of "copper" are alien to the other two terms. Thus, it is considered more likely that the word "cop" originated from the acronym "C.O.P." than by corruption of the word "copper." Source: oral history, Balston Spa (NY) Historical Society, circa 1977.

Semiretired 01:19, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Herbert Asbury says in The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld, "The police appeared on the street with no other insignia than a star shaped copper sheild, whence came the name coppers and cops." (Pg 22) [1] That makes more sense to me than the article, as plumbers plumb, bookmakers make book, but coppers don't cop. --205.171.76.136 15:11, 27 August 2010 (UTC)Chezzo Osman

Ah, but cops do cop (meaning to catch or capture): it's just a verb that isn't much used anymore. The story about the word coming from copper badges, or any acronym story, is almost certainly false. ~ lexicógrafo | háblame ~ 15:21, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
See cop#Etymology 1 (verb). It is common for many explanations to arise. Linguists favor explanations based on very old meanings, even when it is hard to see why the term should have take the route that it would have had to in this explanation. Latin => Old French => Middle French => Northern dialectal English => English as a whole. The leap from French to Northern English may seem a bit of a stretch. A suspicion is that the term was not recorded until surfacing in Northern England, but may have been used elsewhere previously. There are many other conjectural possibilities of this type as well. It came in via seaports or the Jacobites or was congenial to Scotsmen for some Celtic reason or .... DCDuring TALK 20:00, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm. I just checked Webster's, which gives the etymology of cop (verb) as perhaps from Old Frisian, through Frisian and Dutch; Dictionary.com gives the Latin to French story, and EtymOnline gives both. But whatever the reason of that, cop (noun) definitely came as a nounification of the verb to copper, and then shortened to cop. — lexicógrafo | háblame — 20:15, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
We should probably reflect the uncertainty by including the alternative language routes and refer users to the Talk page for the more speculative ones, which are of a type that rarely pans out, but is ever popular. DCDuring TALK 20:44, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Which ones do you mean by the "more speculative ones"? I don't think we should mention any of the acronym theories for the po-po anywhere, nor the copper badge one. — lexicógrafo | háblame — 21:32, 24 September 2010 (UTC)


Regarding Cop (Etymology 3), I had learned years ago that the origin of the term comes from an acronym of the phrase "Constable On Patrol". Has anyone else heard this origin as well? I haven't been able to find anything to support it, so I didn't add it (yet). Thanks! Fogelmatrix (talk) 20:57, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

Could be, but acronym derivations for common words are often fake. — Ungoliant (Falai) 04:45, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

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"(slang|offensive|AAVE|ethnic slur|by extension) Any white male, especially large and clean shaven." Equinox 20:50, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Sense deleted. bd2412 T 19:58, 11 August 2013 (UTC)


Last modified on 14 August 2013, at 08:53