Definition of cops and robbers in US English:

cops and robbers

plural noun

  • 1A children's game of hiding and chasing, in which the participants pretend to be police and criminals.

    • ‘In this climate a child was expelled for playing cops and robbers with a paper gun, and another for waving a biscuit at a teacher.’
    • ‘He would listen to me, and the kids started a game of cops and robbers, unbeknownst to us, of course.’
    • ‘In cops and robbers, kids are roleplaying ‘good versus evil’.’
    • ‘Four kindergartners at Wilson Elementary School in Sayreville, N.J., were suspended for three days for playing a make-believe game of cops and robbers during recess, using their fingers as guns.’
    • ‘The principal of a Colorado elementary school can no longer quiz students who play cops and robbers about their families' firearms.’
    • ‘He's definitely the Barney we know and love: full of himself yet easily flummoxed, quick to overreact, with both a child's delight and an adult's swaggering pride in getting to play cops and robbers for a living.’
    • ‘Aaron told me that they used the hut to play cops and robbers when they were little, but that they now used it to hang out in at night.’
    • ‘Using whatever farm tools came to hand inventing a boy's game of cops and robbers and knights in sturdy farm armour, the mask was to fight all the natural foes, bush fire, drought, loneliness.’
    • ‘No, I mean like when we'd play pirates or cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians or whatever.’
    • ‘When I was a wee tyke we played cops and robbers and cowboys and Indians.’
    • ‘They play cops and robbers for real.’
    • ‘Kids would play cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians.’
    • ‘Kids' games have always involved shooting, for the most part: cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians.’
    • ‘It was a harmless afternoon, and I was lounging around inside class, waiting impatiently for the bell to ring, so I could run out to meet my friends at the playground and play cops and robbers.’
    • ‘On the third tour, he turned old women into Indian maidens and old men into players of cops and robbers.’
    • ‘I feel like sometimes they think it's a game, like they're playing cops and robbers and they're spies.’
    • ‘Go back and play cops and robbers where they're still scared of you.’
    • ‘Play games your elementary school child loves, like tag, cops and robbers, Simon says and red light, green light.’
    • ‘They would play hide-n-seek, cops and robbers, play in Anna Maria's little pool, race on their bikes, pretend they were soldiers in a war, or pretend they were pirates, the possibilities were endless.’
    • ‘And you were masked and dressed in black because you like to play cops and robbers?’
    1. 1.1 A simplistic polarization of the conflict between criminals and police, seen virtually as a game; a lifestyle centered around this.
      ‘to him this could be a lark, a bit of cops and robbers’
      • ‘Unless, of course, improving sales weakens your hand in demanding ever stricter copyright rules and legitimises your playing cops and robbers.’
      • ‘Yet there she was in that bank, playing cops and robbers.’
      • ‘Fighting terror was judged, at the top, to be a dangerous form of cops and robbers, not a nuanced, intricate war.’
      • ‘Two would-be thieves were led away in handcuffs Tuesday after taking police on a dangerous real-life game of cops and robbers - one that involved car jackings, a high-speed chase, a couple of collisions and armed robbery.’
      • ‘The national movement would then be understood like a story of cops and robbers, of great leaders and great villains.’