Main definitions of cop in English

: cop1cop2



  • 1A police officer.

    ‘a cop in a patrol car gave chase’
    • ‘Perhaps we need some courtesy cops on the motorways today.’
    • ‘But there is nothing to say that cops can't monitor people while obscured by alleyway shadows.’
    • ‘So, why not allow cops to take a DNA sample from criminal suspects?’
    • ‘I spent most of my career as a prosecutor trying to weed out cops like this.’
    • ‘Jerry Vick I think probably was the most effective vice cop I've ever seen.’
    • ‘As of this morning, the area around the Japanese embassy is still heavily policed by regular cops and Armed Police with riot gear.’
    • ‘What was the compelling news value of the news helicopter's pursuit of the car after cops broke off their chase?’
    • ‘He dodged the cops by monitoring police scanners to spy on the very people who were tracking him.’
    • ‘This was roundly contradicted by the top cop responsible for traffic policing.’
    • ‘I felt sorry for the shivering cops out there, it wasn't their idea to shut things down, I guess.’
    • ‘They had all been pestered by the police before, of course, but what teenage boy hadn't pulled some stupid stunt to get the cops on there backs?’
    • ‘In this photo, the man who always boasted that cops could never infiltrate his gang was actually posing with several undercover agents.’
    • ‘So what's an ordinary citizen, or cop or government official to do with that in mind?’
    • ‘It reminds me of how on a certain Illinois highway, the cops would park a patrol car in a visible area on the side of the road.’
    • ‘Three cops sat on the table next to it, watching him.’
    • ‘Many residents, say group members, pleaded with the cops to crack down on the drug dealers long before the recent shootings.’
    • ‘The public really do feel reassured when they see cops out on the streets.’
    • ‘There are so many cops on the streets it seems logical that this would've happened eventually.’
    • ‘Finally, when he wouldn't be convinced by simple police reports, the cops let him see the evidence.’
    • ‘Sam had almost killed the cops for not having patrol cars all around.’
    policeman, policewoman, officer of the law, law enforcement agent, law enforcement officer, officer
    View synonyms
  • 2Irish [mass noun] Shrewdness; practical intelligence.

    ‘he had the cop-on to stay clear of Hugh Thornley’
    • ‘Basic cop-on tells us that if our teachers are paid less than our second hand car salesmen, we will ultimately be left with stupid kids driving fast cars.’
    • ‘The time has come for a large dose of cop-on to be delivered.’
    • ‘Its cop-on factor is higher than many other listening posts sourced from around Ireland.’
    • ‘It's a shame to see they still haven't had the cop-on to sort out the ticketing system.’
    • ‘For a professional footballer, any footballer for that matter, to admit that he waited over three years to pay an opponent back for standing over him and sneering, to me, shows a lack of basic cop-on.’


[WITH OBJECT]informal
  • 1Catch or arrest (an offender)

    ‘he was copped for speeding’
    • ‘If they get caught and copped, if they get nicked and weighed-off, fair enough.’
    1. 1.1Incur (something unwelcome)
      ‘England's captain copped most of the blame’
      • ‘I think I must be setting some kind of a record for the number of bans incurred and also the speed at which I cop them.’
      • ‘He cops a boot for his troubles though, and - with his left eye bleeding - is still down getting treatment.’
      • ‘Your investment can produce top-quality diving no matter what the weather - and we copped the hurricane.’
      • ‘They know that whether or not they turn up to court, the result is probably going to be about the same, they're probably going to be found guilty and they're probably going to cop a fine.’
      • ‘If a person is caught traveling above the average speed they will cop multiple fines and lose several more points.’
      • ‘We are going to cop flak from everywhere, but we are used to that.’
      • ‘We'd been through a really tough week in Dublin so, to be honest, we expected to cop some backlash.’
      • ‘Convict captain Ricky Ponting copped one through the visor of his helmet that laid his cheek open.’
      • ‘Let the government cop the political flak for spending taxpayers' money on this instead of heart operations.’
      • ‘If you haven't yet copped an earful, start here - they are only getting better with age.’
      • ‘It's a ferocious and demanding sport and it takes a very special sort of bloke to put their body on their line, but it takes an even more courageous and humble man to go into a game knowing his team is about to cop a flogging.’
      • ‘I'm not going to claim it as fact, but there's a widely held belief amongst many that the union movement cops an unjust and unfair hiding in the mainstream press.’
      • ‘I've copped my fair share of nicks and cuts, but they haven't been serious wounds.’
      • ‘The English media thinks they're team's copping a raw deal from the Australian media this week.’
      • ‘By putting in place inexperienced senior police who had never copped the odd punch in the mouth or broken nose in the line of duty, the police force hung the community and the local police out to dry.’
      • ‘The list is culled from the letters received by fixed-penalty units in which motorists attempt to extricate themselves from copping a fine for speeding.’
      • ‘His leader Don Bash copped a broadside from one respondent who described him as ‘a wimp.’’
      • ‘Then there were the subsequent occasions I was unfortunate enough to cop an earful.’
      • ‘He copped a lot of criticism, which is not nice for anybody to take.’
      • ‘Instead, the research suggests that because of the runaway housing market, many families with modest incomes' one big asset - their house - could end up copping inheritance tax at 40%.’
    2. 1.2British Get into trouble.
      ‘will you cop it from your dad if you get back late?’
      • ‘‘It's disappointing when you're trying your absolute best and hardest and you're copping it from your home crowd,’ he said.’
      • ‘I am copping it large from all my mates for being the biggest loser of all time,’ writes Michael Johns, who - being a big loser - secretly loves all the attention he's getting.’
      • ‘They sense the little people are disproportionately copping it again.’
      • ‘We were 2-4 early in the season, and copping it from everywhere.’
      • ‘You were copping it from left, right and centre.’
      • ‘This went on for a number of months with one poor bloke copping it worse than anyone.’
      • ‘The more we say the more he tends to cop it on the field, so let's just say we're delighted to see him back.’
      • ‘You know, obviously the troops were the ones who copped it most.’
      • ‘Some of the boys thought they were copping it in the press and some had difficulty with that.’
      • ‘Sometimes the boyfriends cops it, but that's usually because its his fault.’
      • ‘It has so much to offer as the home of cricket, and though we cop it on the boundary, it's a fantastic crowd and a great place to play cricket.’
      • ‘What a difference three years makes, Johnny copped it big time.’
      • ‘For the whole first part of the season we have been copping it from every team.’
      • ‘The blokes are copping it from all sides, even ones that are at other clubs… the wives, the girlfriends, even their dads are putting the heat on.’
      • ‘Ray Graham copped it a lot worse than the rest of us.’
      • ‘Mind you, managers are always going to cop it from the press.’
      • ‘It was other farmers, sloppy ones that weren't as careful as Dad; they were the ones who copped it.’
      • ‘And the farmers are just absolutely copping it in the neck, as of course are the consumers, as we've continued to pay our 11 cents-a-litre level for the past three years, and we've got another five years to go.’
      • ‘We all had a great laugh watching Cathy and Boyd cop it in Parliament.’
      • ‘Lately he has been copping it for calling on Europe to reduce it's health standard for food products (can you believe it) in order to make it easier for developing countries to get into the market.’
    3. 1.3British Be killed.
      ‘he almost copped it in a horrific accident’
      • ‘Since then - every six months or so - another big name or another industry cops it.’
      • ‘And these things stay with you the rest of your life. I nearly copped it too, but was saved on several occasions by my buddies, and I, in turn, was given a chance to save their skins also.’
      • ‘You drink yourself stupid, doing whatever self - abuse it is you want to do, because you don't really believe you're going to cop it.’
      • ‘However, the gang is double crossed, one of their number cops it, the gold is stolen by said double-crosser, and generally it all goes belly up for Croker and the gang.’
      • ‘I guess that's what happens when you have nearly copped it.’
      • ‘Does this mean Mary Jane is going to cop it in the first movie?’
      • ‘Its one redeeming feature is Kevin Costner as a bad guy who cops it.’
  • 2Receive or attain (something welcome)

    ‘she copped an award for her role in the film’
    • ‘One of its distinguished principals, designer Peter Minshall, copped this country's first Grammy Award, albeit for work done abroad.’
    • ‘He copped the award for the Most Outstanding Academic Performance, while Jeremiah Bishop received the Principal's Spirit Award.’
    • ‘He was the top sprinter at the recent National Championships and copped the MVP award.’
    • ‘It was her second Juno, following the Best Female Newcomer award she copped in 2001.’
    • ‘Some of us have been watching television all our lives without copping an England team victory in a global event and without seriously suspecting we ever would.’
    • ‘He copped several A-level awards, including best all round student.’
    • ‘New Park's players copped the other awards.’
    • ‘Williams also copped the award for Academic Excellence and subject prizes for Biology and French.’
    • ‘With the increased risk of being caught, people no longer dared either to cop a free ride or to carry a weapon.’
    • ‘In the States, his choreography copped a Bessie award - given for contemporary dance and dance theater.’
    • ‘Besides, even if you were to cop that kiss, you would not magically get A's or stop daydreaming.’
    • ‘On February 20, it copped the audience award for best feature film at the Belize Film Festival.’
    1. 2.1US Obtain (an illegal drug)
      ‘he copped some hash for me’
      • ‘Teresa, a 24-year-old crack user, found copping drugs was the major source of fights.’
      • ‘I went and copped some dope, then got on a methadone program.’
      • ‘After copping, they may then not be able to obtain new syringes because local pharmacies and needle exchange services may be closed or far away.’
      • ‘I knew about three or four places to cop, all in the immediate area.’
      • ‘Dude is driving around town on his souped-up cycle, copping cannabis and picking up chicks.’
      • ‘I really wanted to get high because I was very really stressed out, and something about having the Feds sit outside my apartment kept me from copping any drugs.’
      • ‘Social Security checks, welfare checks, and food stamp pickups (food stamp trading for drugs and other items) change street activities and copping frequency.’
  • 3North American Strike (an attitude or pose)

    ‘I copped an attitude—I acted real tough’
    • ‘They get paid millions to cop an attitude and are allowed to fail to deliver the goods on the field, court, or what have you.’
    • ‘Someone who comes off as arrogant and cops a holier-than-thou attitude should be booed.’
    • ‘Alas, I had been copping a generally arrogant attitude since hitting the water despite an almost complete lack of skills and now I was going to pay for it.’
    • ‘But if it approves this issue without sending it out to referendum, it's copping an elitist attitude with the snootiest of them.’
    • ‘Of course, a player tends to cop this type of attitude when he knows his days with his current employer are numbered.’
    • ‘Early on, I expect I saw more influences than there really were, just assuming that if anyone was doing anything remotely similar, they musta been copping it from us, but I got over that reasonably fast.’
    • ‘‘It's pretty easy,’ April says, copping an easy-going attitude and ruining any hopes of juicy controversy.’
    • ‘She was copping this attitude, an annoying attitude, and I shook my head, grabbing the beer from beside her and opening it up, taking a huge gulp.’
    • ‘Don't like it when someone else cops the attitude you usually reserve for yourself?’
    • ‘But copping an attitude alone won't make you a hacker, any more than it will make you a champion athlete or a rock star.’
    • ‘It's just that Valentine's been copping a lot of attitude lately and that's totally unlike him.’
    • ‘The kid started copping an attitude with me, like I had complained on him or something, going so far as flipping me off a couple times as he and one of his mouth-breather chums pulled away in a car.’


  • cop a feel

    • informal Fondle someone sexually, especially in a surreptitious way or without their permission.

      • ‘The liquor is talking to them and they try to cop a feel.’
      • ‘People in Cornwall will be parading about in horse costumes trying to cop a feel of the local farmer's daughter.’
      • ‘You wouldn't believe how many guys try to cop a feel, or jump on stage and try to molest me.’
      • ‘Then she tried dating, concluding from one adolescent's attempt to cop a feel that all men go about this, no matter what their age.’
      • ‘Morris copped a feel again this afternoon, shoved his hand right down my uniform.’
      • ‘He's hit on me all night, tried cop a feel, and refused to back off.’
      • ‘But not even an Italian will cop a feel and then try to get away with a lame: ‘I was just being friendly.’’
      • ‘‘What a get up,’ he added, copping a feel of Lynn's well outlined derrière.’
      • ‘Despite their stuck-in-high-school doofiness, they were loyal friends who tried to do right by the girls, even as they were trying to cop a feel.’
      • ‘Don't tell me you tried to cop a feel or something.’
      • ‘As I sauntered down the beach on the prowl for a passed out girl that I could cop a feel from, I spied a raggedy looking tent that was selling strange looking wares.’
      • ‘And don't you dare cop a feel in the back seat of my car.’
      • ‘I feel like I just shelled out a couple hundred bucks for dinner for two at a nice restaurant, but didn't even get to cop a feel.’
      • ‘He thinks it's a good thing that I keep staring at him, but really I'm just afraid he's going to try to cop a feel while I'm not looking.’
      • ‘But I know it was probably him trying to cop a feel.’
      • ‘If he tries anything funny, like lifting up her skirt to cop a feel, he gets his hand slapped.’
  • cop hold of

    • informal [usually in imperative]Take hold of.

      ‘cop hold of the suitcase, I'm off’
      • ‘During a game of the sophisticated ‘spin the bottle’, she copped hold of Pete.’
      • ‘Don't get me wrong, there's some pretty stirring stuff - much like we'd have from Mars Volta if they ever copped hold of a bunch of Coldplay records - but what the rich, fluid tones gain in consistency, they lose in relief.’
      • ‘Dad sprung from his chair like greased lightning, copped hold of the impudent young whippersnapper and bent him over his knee for a ceremonial thrashing.’
      • ‘‘Well, aren't you in for a surprise then, here cop hold of this’, and I handed him a mug of ‘coffee’ liberally laced with what the girl had given me.’
      • ‘I've only time for a short review, so my tip is cop hold of ‘Independently Blue’, lie back and relax.’
  • cop it sweet

    • informal Accept or tolerate a disagreeable situation without complaint.

      ‘he didn't even have the grace to cop it sweet’
      • ‘If that does transpire to be truly the case, I suppose I'll just have to cop it sweet.’
      • ‘If he got away with it on the field, I'll cop it sweet.’
      • ‘If I've done anything wrong, I'll cop it sweet.’
      • ‘If you can't stomach sneaky and malevolent payback, cop it sweet or get another job.’
      • ‘The so-called racialised other is expected to cop it sweet.’
      • ‘They have been caught lying, but even then, they won't cop it sweet.’
      • ‘Tell all the whingeing people to cop it sweet, and when they go home to wherever they can continue to whinge to whoever will listen.’
      • ‘They will do what they have to do to get through these days: cop it sweet, keep the head down and the mouth shut.’
      • ‘If she has breached the Privacy Act, we hope that she cops it sweet, because the majority of New Zealanders won't care a dot.’
      • ‘She will grumble about on- and off-field issues but, in the end, will cop it sweet.’
  • cop a plea

    • informal Engage in plea bargaining.

      • ‘I think they were trying to get the defense to cop a plea in that case.’
      • ‘To encourage the defendant to cop a plea, some reduction in the charge is usually offered.’
      • ‘Until today that is, when he copped a plea in U.S. District Court in Concord.’
      • ‘Let's say I walked after copping a plea to obstruction of justice.’
      • ‘Leon had copped a plea of guilty for solicitation and accepted the penalty of time served - a charge for which he had previously done real time.’
      • ‘In Germany, meanwhile, an accused MP cops a plea, or plans to anyway.’
      • ‘Anybody else in this industry would have already copped a plea, and that's just what the government wants.’
      • ‘When common criminals are allowed to cop a plea, they plead guilty first as part of the bargain.’
      • ‘You can defend yourself against an indictment or you can cop a plea.’
      • ‘The nine defendants, advised by their lawyers to cop a plea of guilty in return for ‘lighter’ prison sentences, mounted their own defence and were eventually acquitted of the charges by an all white jury.’
  • good cop, bad cop

    • informal Used to refer to a police interrogation technique in which one officer feigns a sympathetic or protective attitude while another adopts an aggressive approach.

      ‘questioners often play good cop, bad cop’
      figurative ‘the prime minister and chancellor were involved in a classic good cop, bad cop routine’
      • ‘Mr Mills claimed that two prosecutors, playing " good cop, bad cop ", had put the words into his mouth.’
      • ‘Now, don't play good cop, bad cop with me.’
      • ‘But to me, his own piece really hangs together with that of the Post in sort of a twisted "good cop, bad cop" kind of thing.’
      • ‘It seems they play good cop, bad cop out on the training pitch.’
      • ‘Viewed from Tehran, the west is playing a classic game of good cop, bad cop.’
      • ‘Playing good cop, bad cop, they alternated sweetness and challenge.’
      • ‘The reaction of England management was interesting, almost on the lines of good cop, bad cop.’
      • ‘The translator should not be used in a "good cop, bad cop" role.’
      • ‘Before, the administration seemed to want it to do kind of a good cop, bad cop with Arafat.’
      • ‘We should play good cop, bad cop with him.’
  • it's a fair cop

    • informal An admission that the speaker has been caught doing wrong and deserves punishment.

      • ‘He was never going to say ‘Alright, it's a fair cop.’’
      • ‘I am not going to say it's a fair cop because my parking space was pinched!’
      • ‘There's nothing stopping you from shrugging your shoulders, admitting it's a fair cop, and sending the deactivation signal.’
      • ‘Now terminally-ill, Mr Bacon is looking at spending his declining years behind bars, but he still says it's a fair cop.’
      • ‘I have very frequently accused Walter Hill of taking too much from the directing style of Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch), and it's a fair cop as evidenced in various scenes in Southern Comfort.’
  • not much cop

    • informal Not very good.

      ‘they say he's not much cop as a coach’
      • ‘Sean Penn admits he's not much cop at reading bedtime stories to his children.’
      • ‘Most are not much cop, but without them you wouldn't have that gem you stumbled upon last week.’
      • ‘If, equally, it happens that the football is not much cop, the choice between being penned up like a foot and mouth victim or sitting in reasonable comfort is not hard to make.’
      • ‘But listening to him perform a new song on a recent tour, a more likely reason for his years without a record deal presents itself: that, really, he's just not much cop any more.’
      • ‘Honestly it's not the style, I just think that in their genre they're not much cop whereas Kelly and the MGM arrangers were at the top of their game.’
      • ‘For politicians who have come to realise that the state is not much cop at either capital funding or operations, this should be a godsend.’
      • ‘It's great for a temporal cleansing and balancing of the self, but it's not much cop for actual space clearing of persistent presences.’
      • ‘Were they just not much cop, then, or have I missed something here?’
      • ‘The other problem with the translation is that at times it is just really not much cop.’
      • ‘But despite my suspicions that he's not much cop, you can't judge him at Leeds at the moment.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • cop off

    • Have a sexual encounter.

      ‘loads of girls think that guys just want to cop off with any girl’
      • ‘Like he'd spotted his bird at a party copping off with someone else.’
      • ‘I hadn't invited Dave to our own party because he always disgraces himself, tries to cop off with everyone and anyone, and then vomits in the flowerbeds.’
      • ‘I know it's so one can cop off and all that, but I just had to write and tell you.’
      • ‘When I explained my view recently, I was asked ‘didn't you cop off when you were younger?’’
      • ‘And you never know, there was always a chance that the girl you'd always fancied copping off with might have suddenly noticed you exist over the holiday period.’
      • ‘About 13 or 14 years ago, I copped off at a friend's party with a really cute bloke.’
      • ‘The foods contained in the bags will probably only be consumed should the male student cop off in his first week and invite the female back to his place where she will discover all the goodies and proceed to prepare them all.’
      • ‘Our guess is that it wasn't until he saw her nearly naked that he recognised who he'd been trying to cop off with.’
      • ‘Then one day I found out she'd been copping off with Pete Simmonds all that time. I can't say I was surprised - I wasn't much of a boyfriend.’
  • cop on

    • 1Become aware of something.

      ‘she never copped on—you've no idea of the guilt I went through’
      • ‘It also copped on to the fact that real global power is measured by how far you can project that power.’
      • ‘The bad news for him is that others have copped on to his game.’
      • ‘‘I didn't think he was serious at first, but then I copped on I said I'd let him sweat it out for a minute,’ the thrilled bride-to-be joked afterwards.’
      • ‘Eventually the Romans copped on to the unifying power of currency and circulated their coins widely throughout the empire.’
      • ‘‘There has been a rise in applications because parents are copping on that without them pushing for the help their children need, nobody will look out for them,’ she said.’
      1. 1.1[as imperative]Used as a way of telling someone not to be so stupid.
        ‘ah, cop on, I was only messin'’
  • cop out

    • Avoid doing something that one ought to do.

      ‘he would not cop out of the difficult tax decisions’
      • ‘Despite its weaknesses, it never drags and by the end ties up the plot quite satisfactorily without copping out.’
      • ‘Ultimately, the plot cops out and an easy solution is pasted on to avoid confusion.’
      • ‘And, without giving anything away, Lucas totally cops out of the one truly disturbing moment the movie could have had.’
      • ‘Originally, I was going to cop out of this with a joke answer.’
      • ‘And yes, I am also copping out of writing an entry to wrap this year up.’
      • ‘Somehow these Globe directors and designers seem to have gotten it into their heads that it is copping out to design costumes that are appropriate for the characters!’
      • ‘Rather than face criticism, Fisk cops out by vilifying his critics as ‘haters’ who indulge in right-wing demagoguery.’
      • ‘So he cops out on charitable donations and still tries to fight in the name of ‘the greater good?’’
      • ‘There's always the possibility that whatever enticing visions the Bush team puts forward, the Americans will just find them too hard to implement, and will end up copping out.’
      • ‘Don't cop out by claiming that you're trying to reach all readers.’
      avoid, shirk, skip, dodge, sidestep, skirt round, bypass, steer clear of, evade, escape, run away from, shrink from, slide out of, back out of, pull out of, turn one's back on
      duck, duck out of, wriggle out of, get out of
      skive, skive off, funk
      decline, bilk
      View synonyms
  • cop to

    • Accept or admit to.

      ‘there are a lot of people in the world who don't cop to their past’
      • ‘By now I'm used to admitting error on a fairly regular basis - but I'm not copping to this one.’
      • ‘She has the tone of a recovering alcoholic copping to past bad behavior.’
      • ‘But no, Jude Law raised his hands and copped to it.’
      • ‘But she always finds others to castigate for their immorality and selfishness, rarely copping to what she would call a decadent lifestyle if another woman lived it.’
      • ‘Okay, so what he is basically copping to is a complete abdication of his Congressional responsibilities, a failure to uphold his oath, and a seeming lack of knowledge regarding our Constitution.’
      • ‘His name as a performer and a producer is synonymous with ‘do it yourself’ and ‘low fidelity’, whether he'll cop to it or not.’
      • ‘They saw magazine executives under oath in a celebrity trial copping to fraudulent circulation figures.’
      • ‘Williams quickly copped to having had a conflict of interest and apologized for his ‘bad judgment.’’
      • ‘Disrespecting the Bing basically meant copping to an insignificant offense in order to avoid taking responsibility for, or admitting to, a far graver one.’
      • ‘This is a case of sloppy staff work in Brown's office and not much more - but it's still a screw-up, which explains why Brown's office immediately copped to the miscue.’


Early 18th century (as a verb): perhaps from obsolete cap ‘arrest’, from Old French caper seize, from Latin capere. The noun is from copper.




Main definitions of cop in English

: cop1cop2



  • A conical mass of thread wound on to a spindle.


Late 18th century: possibly from Old English cop ‘summit, top’.




Main definitions of cop in English

: cop1cop2


  • Colombian peso(s).