"It's not spiders I dislike, just people." -Petra
Question #4396 posted on 03/22/2004 12:02 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What is the etymology of "cop out"?
- Friend of Anastasia

A: Dear Friend,

"Cop," as a verb, appeared in 1704 in a northern British dialect, meaning to "seize," perhaps from the Middle French "caper," which means to "seize, to take," from the Classical Latin "capere" which means "to take;" from the Dutch "kapen," which means "to take," or from the Old Frisian "capia," which means "to buy." Cop out (verb) and cop-out (noun) are American English, first recorded 1942, probably from "cop a plea" (c.1925), which means to "plead guilty to lesser charges."

Whew. I need a good long nap after that one. WAY too many abbreviations to slog through in the research.

~Eowyn