Meaning of "Cop out"

an instance of avoiding a commitment or responsibility.

cop

kŏp
cop 1  (kŏp)
n. Informal
1. A police officer.
2. One that regulates certain behaviors or actions: "Faced with the world recession of the early 1980s, ... the World Bank ... became a stern economic taskmaster and cop" (Richard J. Barnet).

[Short for copper.]

cop 2  (kŏp) Slang
tr.v. copped, cop·ping, cops
1.
a. To get hold of; gain or win: a show that copped four awards; copped a ticket to the game.
b. To perceive by one of the senses: "copped a quick look at the gentleman ... on the right" (Gail Sheehy).
2. To take unlawfully or without permission; steal.
Phrasal Verb:
cop out
To avoid fulfilling a commitment or responsibility; renege: copped out on my friends; copped out by ducking the issue.
Idioms:
cop a feel
To fondle someone sexually in a surreptitious way.
cop a plea
To plead guilty to a lesser charge so as to avoid standing trial for a more serious charge.

[Probably variant of cap, to catch, from Old French caper, from Latin capere; see capture.]

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cop3
cop 3  (kŏp)
n.
1. A cone-shaped or cylindrical roll of yarn or thread wound on a spindle.
2. Chiefly British A summit or crest, as of a hill.

[Middle English, summit, from Old English.]

cop out

cop out
vb
(intr, adverb) to fail to assume responsibility or to commit oneself
n
1. an instance of avoiding responsibility or commitment
2. a person who acts in this way
[C20: probably from cop1]