• I believe the word "Cop" is shothand for the word "copper". Police badges , at one time, were made of copper - hence "cop".
  • From Several popular etymologies, all certainly false, exist for this word meaning policeman. One says that it is an acronym standing for Constable On Patrol. Another says that the first policemen in London (or another city--it varies in the telling) had copper buttons on their uniforms. Yet another says that it was not buttons, but a copper badge that gave them the name. While the ultimate origin is disputed, most authorities agree that it is a shortening of copper. Cop was first used in 1859 and copper predates it from 1846. Copper, as slang for policeman, derives from the verb to cop, which dates from 1704 and means to catch. The OED2 notes that an 1864 newspaper stated that people would exhibit a copper coin as they passed a policeman, in effect calling them copper. This may have been the beginning of the confusion with the metal copper. The ultimate origin of the verb copper is disputed. It either derives from the Dutch kapen, meaning to take. This in turn comes from the Old Frisian capia, meaning to buy. The other choice is that it derives from the French caper, to take, and ultimately from the Latin capere
  • Here is a twist, to the previous answers of this question. actually, "cop", originates as something very simple: CITIZENS ON PATROL. bet you didn't know that! the word cop is not derogatory. its just another shortened abbreviation for the three words.
  • The idea that it is an acronym is more than likely wrong, as is the notion that it relates to the NYC police badge (made of copper) or the copper buttons of British police in the 1800s. The truth is, all the evidence points to it being derived from the English colloquial verb to cop, which has as one of its meanings to catch, or get. This first appeared in the English language in the early 1700s and the word copper as a noun (as in one who cops a thief) is known to have been in common usage in England well prior to the first recorded use of cop used as a noun in literature in the 1800s. It is most likely that the term crossed the Atlantic with Irish immigrants, who made up the bulk of the NY police in the late mid-to-late 1800s and who doubtless had much experience of British coppers. The obvious clue here is in the fact that the term is still widely used in the form of copper in the United Kingdom, and other former British colonies such as Australia and New Zealand - which are a long way from NYC and would have had far more direct links to London that the east coast of the then infant United States. Although the Citizen on Patrol or Constable on Patrol theory sounds good, it does seem spurious - if for no other reason than acronyms hadn't really entered common usage in that period. They seem to be more a thing of the 20th century.
  • COP is an abbreviation for Constable on Patrol. It's not derogatory. Good question. I was about to ask it myself.
  • I also read that it was from the latin Capere - 'to capture' and has just been mispronounced over time.
  • Short for the British slang "copper".
  • It's not derogatory, just a slang word. It derives from the verb "to cop" (meaning "to catch").
  • 12-11-2016 Cop is a very old word meaning to grab or catch, as in "to cop a bargain". A copper is one who cops.

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