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Author Topic: What's the etymology of being 'not much cop' at something?  (Read 5502 times)

Offline Hiheels

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Offline AtMyWitzEnd

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Re: What's the etymology of being 'not much cop' at something?
« Reply #1 on: 25 March, 2010, 12:14:06 AM »
This doesn't mean, as one might expect, that it refers to being a bad policemen. Long before cop or copper was a term for a policeman, it was an English colloquial verb. To cop had the meaning of 'to catch' or 'to get'. This first appeared in the English language in the early 1700s.

The ultimate origin of the noun to cop is disputed. It either derives from the Dutch kapen, meaning to take or it derives from the French caper, also meaning to take and ultimately from the Latin capere.

So the expression "not much cop" means something wasn't worth catching or getting.   

Lisa

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Re: What's the etymology of being 'not much cop' at something?
« Reply #2 on: 02 November, 2017, 03:23:54 PM »
Chopper is a french verb with similar meaning, to catch in the sense of to steal or nab or grab. Slang, but interesting linkages perhaps?