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1578, from coppice, by contraction, originally meaning “small wood grown for purposes of periodic cutting”.



copse (plural copses)

  1. A thicket of small trees or shrubs.
    • 1798, William Wordsworth, Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey, lines 9–15 (for syntax):
      The day is come when I again repose
      Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
      These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard tufts,
      Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
      Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
      ’Mid groves and copses.
    • 1919, Ronald Firbank, Valmouth, Duckworth (hardback edition), p19:
      Striking the highway beyond the little copse she skirted the dark iron palings enclosing Hare.



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copse (third-person singular simple present copses, present participle copsing, simple past and past participle copsed)

  1. (transitive, horticulture) To trim or cut.
  2. (transitive, horticulture) To plant and preserve.