Main meanings of cop in English

: cop1cop2COP3


Pronunciation /kɒp/

See synonyms for cop

Translate cop into Spanish


  • 1A police officer.

    • ‘a cop in a patrol car gave chase’
    • ‘As of this morning, the area around the Japanese embassy is still heavily policed by regular cops and Armed Police with riot gear.’
    • ‘Sam had almost killed the cops for not having patrol cars all around.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Finally, when he wouldn't be convinced by simple police reports, the cops let him see the evidence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What was the compelling news value of the news helicopter's pursuit of the car after cops broke off their chase?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Three cops sat on the table next to it, watching him.’
    • ‘But there is nothing to say that cops can't monitor people while obscured by alleyway shadows.’
    • ‘So what's an ordinary citizen, or cop or government official to do with that in mind?’
    • ‘In this photo, the man who always boasted that cops could never infiltrate his gang was actually posing with several undercover agents.’
    • ‘There are so many cops on the streets it seems logical that this would've happened eventually.’
    • ‘Perhaps we need some courtesy cops on the motorways today.’
    • ‘The public really do feel reassured when they see cops out on the streets.’
    • ‘I felt sorry for the shivering cops out there, it wasn't their idea to shut things down, I guess.’
    • ‘So, why not allow cops to take a DNA sample from criminal suspects?’
    • ‘Many residents, say group members, pleaded with the cops to crack down on the drug dealers long before the recent shootings.’
    policeman, policewoman, officer of the law, law enforcement agent, law enforcement officer, officer
    View synonyms
  • 2also cop-onIrish mass noun Shrewdness; practical intelligence.

    • ‘he had the cop-on to stay clear of Hugh Thornley’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’

verbverb cops, verb copping, verb copped

[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’
      • ‘an easy journey, if we don't cop any rough weather’
      • ‘Convict captain Ricky Ponting copped one through the visor of his helmet that laid his cheek open.’
      • ‘His leader Don Bash copped a broadside from one respondent who described him as ‘a wimp.’’
      • ‘The English media thinks they're team's copping a raw deal from the Australian media this week.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Your investment can produce top-quality diving no matter what the weather - and we copped the hurricane.’
      • ‘If a person is caught traveling above the average speed they will cop multiple fines and lose several more points.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've copped my fair share of nicks and cuts, but they haven't been serious wounds.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He cops a boot for his troubles though, and - with his left eye bleeding - is still down getting treatment.’
      • ‘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%.’
      • ‘We are going to cop flak from everywhere, but we are used to that.’
      • ‘Let the government cop the political flak for spending taxpayers' money on this instead of heart operations.’
      • ‘Then there were the subsequent occasions I was unfortunate enough to cop an earful.’
      • ‘If you haven't yet copped an earful, start here - they are only getting better with age.’
      • ‘He copped a lot of criticism, which is not nice for anybody to take.’
      • ‘We'd been through a really tough week in Dublin so, to be honest, we expected to cop some backlash.’
  • 2Receive or attain (something welcome)

    • ‘she copped an award for her role in the film’
    • ‘He copped several A-level awards, including best all round student.’
    • ‘New Park's players copped the other awards.’
    • ‘He copped the award for the Most Outstanding Academic Performance, while Jeremiah Bishop received the Principal's Spirit Award.’
    • ‘On February 20, it copped the audience award for best feature film at the Belize Film Festival.’
    • ‘Williams also copped the award for Academic Excellence and subject prizes for Biology and French.’
    • ‘He was the top sprinter at the recent National Championships and copped the MVP award.’
    • ‘In the States, his choreography copped a Bessie award - given for contemporary dance and dance theater.’
    • ‘One of its distinguished principals, designer Peter Minshall, copped this country's first Grammy Award, albeit for work done abroad.’
    • ‘It was her second Juno, following the Best Female Newcomer award she copped in 2001.’
    • ‘With the increased risk of being caught, people no longer dared either to cop a free ride or to carry a weapon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Besides, even if you were to cop that kiss, you would not magically get A's or stop daydreaming.’
    1. 2.1US Obtain (an illegal drug)
      ‘he copped some hash for me’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Social Security checks, welfare checks, and food stamp pickups (food stamp trading for drugs and other items) change street activities and copping frequency.’
      • ‘Dude is driving around town on his souped-up cycle, copping cannabis and picking up chicks.’
      • ‘I went and copped some dope, then got on a methadone program.’
      • ‘I knew about three or four places to cop, all in the immediate area.’
      • ‘Teresa, a 24-year-old crack user, found copping drugs was the major source of fights.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘Don't like it when someone else cops the attitude you usually reserve for yourself?’
    • ‘‘It's pretty easy,’ April says, copping an easy-going attitude and ruining any hopes of juicy controversy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But if it approves this issue without sending it out to referendum, it's copping an elitist attitude with the snootiest of them.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Someone who comes off as arrogant and cops a holier-than-thou attitude should be booed.’
    • ‘It's just that Valentine's been copping a lot of attitude lately and that's totally unlike him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


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

      • ‘You wouldn't believe how many guys try to cop a feel, or jump on stage and try to molest me.’
      • ‘‘What a get up,’ he added, copping a feel of Lynn's well outlined derrière.’
      • ‘Morris copped a feel again this afternoon, shoved his hand right down my uniform.’
      • ‘Don't tell me you tried to cop a feel or something.’
      • ‘But I know it was probably him trying to cop a feel.’
      • ‘The liquor is talking to them and they try to cop a feel.’
      • ‘He's hit on me all night, tried cop a feel, and refused to back off.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But not even an Italian will cop a feel and then try to get away with a lame: ‘I was just being friendly.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘People in Cornwall will be parading about in horse costumes trying to cop a feel of the local farmer's daughter.’
      • ‘If he tries anything funny, like lifting up her skirt to cop a feel, he gets his hand slapped.’
    cop a plea
    North American informal
    • Engage in plea bargaining.

      • ‘When common criminals are allowed to cop a plea, they plead guilty first as part of the bargain.’
      • ‘Until today that is, when he copped a plea in U.S. District Court in Concord.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To encourage the defendant to cop a plea, some reduction in the charge is usually offered.’
      • ‘Let's say I walked after copping a plea to obstruction of justice.’
      • ‘In Germany, meanwhile, an accused MP cops a plea, or plans to anyway.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I think they were trying to get the defense to cop a plea in that case.’
      • ‘Anybody else in this industry would have already copped a plea, and that's just what the government wants.’
    cop hold of
    British informal
    • usually in imperative Take hold of.

      • ‘cop hold of the suitcase, I'm off’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've only time for a short review, so my tip is cop hold of ‘Independently Blue’, lie back and relax.’
      • ‘During a game of the sophisticated ‘spin the bottle’, she copped hold of Pete.’
    cop it
    British informal
    • 1Get into trouble.

      • ‘will you cop it from your dad if you get back late?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some of the boys thought they were copping it in the press and some had difficulty with that.’
      • ‘Ray Graham copped it a lot worse than the rest of us.’
      • ‘It was other farmers, sloppy ones that weren't as careful as Dad; they were the ones who copped it.’
      • ‘We all had a great laugh watching Cathy and Boyd cop it in Parliament.’
      • ‘Mind you, managers are always going to cop it from the press.’
      • ‘Sometimes the boyfriends cops it, but that's usually because its his fault.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘It's disappointing when you're trying your absolute best and hardest and you're copping it from your home crowd,’ he said.’
      • ‘We were 2-4 early in the season, and copping it from everywhere.’
      • ‘You were copping it from left, right and centre.’
      • ‘They sense the little people are disproportionately copping it again.’
      • ‘This went on for a number of months with one poor bloke copping it worse than anyone.’
      • ‘For the whole first part of the season we have been copping it from every team.’
      • ‘What a difference three years makes, Johnny copped it big time.’
      • ‘You know, obviously the troops were the ones who copped it most.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    • 2Be killed.

      • ‘he almost copped it in a horrific accident’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Does this mean Mary Jane is going to cop it in the first movie?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Its one redeeming feature is Kevin Costner as a bad guy who cops it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I guess that's what happens when you have nearly copped it.’
    cop it sweet
    Australian, New Zealand informal
    • Accept or tolerate a disagreeable situation without complaint.

      • ‘he didn't even have the grace to cop it sweet’
      • ‘If he got away with it on the field, I'll cop it sweet.’
      • ‘She will grumble about on- and off-field issues but, in the end, will cop it sweet.’
      • ‘The so-called racialised other is expected to 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 that does transpire to be truly the case, I suppose I'll just have to cop it sweet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They have been caught lying, but even then, they won't cop it sweet.’
      • ‘If you can't stomach sneaky and malevolent payback, cop it sweet or get another job.’
      • ‘If I've done anything wrong, I'll cop it sweet.’
    good cop, bad cop
    • 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’
      • ‘the prime minister and chancellor were involved in a classic good cop, bad cop routine’
      • ‘Viewed from Tehran, the west is playing a classic game of good cop, bad cop.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now, don't play good cop, bad cop with me.’
      • ‘We should play good cop, bad cop with him.’
      • ‘Mr Mills claimed that two prosecutors, playing " good cop, bad cop ", had put the words into his mouth.’
      • ‘It seems they play good cop, bad cop out on the training pitch.’
      • ‘Playing good cop, bad cop, they alternated sweetness and challenge.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Before, the administration seemed to want it to do kind of a good cop, bad cop with Arafat.’
    it's a fair cop
    British informal
    • 1

      see fair

    • 2An 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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There's nothing stopping you from shrugging your shoulders, admitting it's a fair cop, and sending the deactivation signal.’

Phrasal Verbs

    cop off
    British informal
    • Have a sexual encounter with someone.

      • ‘everyone drinks as much as they can and cops off with anyone who's free’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Like he'd spotted his bird at a party copping off with someone else.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When I explained my view recently, I was asked ‘didn't you cop off when you were younger?’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I know it's so one can cop off and all that, but I just had to write and tell you.’
      • ‘Like he'd spotted his bird at a party copping off with someone else.’
    cop on
    • 1Irish informal Become aware of something.

      • ‘she never copped on—you've no idea of the guilt I went through’
      • ‘it seems the bank have copped on to their administrative error’
      • ‘Eventually the Romans copped on to the unifying power of currency and circulated their coins widely throughout the empire.’
      • ‘The bad news for him is that others have copped on to his game.’
      • ‘It also copped on to the fact that real global power is measured by how far you can project that power.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      1. 1.1as 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 copped out at the last moment’
      • ‘he would not cop out of the difficult tax decisions’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘And yes, I am also copping out of writing an entry to wrap this year up.’
      • ‘Despite its weaknesses, it never drags and by the end ties up the plot quite satisfactorily without copping out.’
      • ‘Don't cop out by claiming that you're trying to reach all readers.’
      • ‘Originally, I was going to cop out of this with a joke answer.’
    cop to
    US informal
    • cop to somethingAccept or admit to something.

      • ‘there are a lot of people in the world who don't cop to their past’
      • ‘She has the tone of a recovering alcoholic copping to past bad behavior.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Disrespecting the Bing basically meant copping to an insignificant offense in order to avoid taking responsibility for, or admitting to, a far graver one.’
      • ‘They saw magazine executives under oath in a celebrity trial copping to fraudulent circulation figures.’
      • ‘By now I'm used to admitting error on a fairly regular basis - but I'm not copping to this 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.’
      • ‘But no, Jude Law raised his hands and copped to it.’
      • ‘Williams quickly copped to having had a conflict of interest and apologized for his ‘bad judgment.’’
      • ‘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.’


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 meanings of cop in English

: cop1cop2COP3


Pronunciation /kɒp/

See synonyms for cop

Translate cop into Spanish


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


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

Main meanings of COP in English

: cop1cop2COP3


See synonyms for COP

Translate COP into Spanish


  • Colombian peso(s).