Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 22:36:21 -0600
From: "Donald M. Lance" engdl[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU
Subject: Re: For the Love of Mike; Let's Go!; Cop; The Jinx
Evan Morris's Sunday Daily News column explained "Cop." I like the
little poem in this explanation, from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Everybody's
Column, 19 February 1905, pg. 8, col. 7:
A "COP" (C. B. L.).--"Please tell me in Everybody's Column how the word
"cop" came to be applied to the policemen.
There has been a favorite rhyme among English schoolboys for generations
past which says:
"He that cops what isn't his'n,
Will be copped and put to prison."
This verb "to cop," you see, is an old-timer, meaning "to take," "to
catch," "to capture;" naturally enough a "copper" is a "catcher" (a
policeman); and (although none of our dictionaries says so) "cop" seems to us
to be nothing more than a free-and-easy popular abbreviation of "copper."
I wonder if "to cop a plea" is related to the 'take' use of 'cop'. Barry,
have you traced this one? I suppose I oughta look in my reference books
before posting this question, but I'm running out of spare time tonight.