Re: Etymology of "cops" - English

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Posted by rob on September 03, 2004 at 04:43:01:

In Reply to: Etymology of "cops" posted by mseidner on September 01, 2004 at 13:00:41:

"cop"

(Word Origins)

does not stand for "constable on patrol" or "constabulary of police".
The noun "cop" (first attested meaning "policeman" in 1859) is short
for "copper" (first attested meaning "policeman" in 1846). "Copper"
in this sense is unlikely to derive from copper buttons or shields
worn by early policemen. Rather, dictionaries derive it from "to
cop" (first attested meaning "to grab" in 1704 and meaning "to
arrest" in 1844). "To cop" may come Dutch _kapen_ = "to steal"; or
it may come from Old French dialect _caper_ = "to take", from Latin
_capere_.


Source: [Mark Israel, 'Word Origins: "cop"', The alt.usage.english FAQ file,(line 3329), (29 Sept 1997)]



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