Where did “cop” come from?
You’ll be surprised :-)


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119 Responses to Cop

  1. rijk says:

    To cut to the chase, the police sense of “copper” and “cop” probably comes originally from the Latin word “capere,” meaning “to seize,” which also gave us “capture.” “Cop” as a slang term meaning “to catch, snatch or grab” appeared in English in the 18th century, ironically originally used among thieves — a “copper” was a street thief. But by the middle of the 19th century, criminals apprehended by the police were said to have themselves been “copped” — caught — by the “coppers” or “cops.” And there you have the etiology of “cop.” Case, as the cops say, closed.

    So i go for what’s behind door no 3. Because it meant to grab (thief) and grab as in capture.

  2. leonard says:

    Funny stories of cops are abundant. For what ever reason society has, it will use its community law enforcement. On-going investigations keeps laughter inside their hopes. Crimes are not a good thing. Mistakes needs courts. Policy is and are :grin: . Answers are 1,2, and three, like a trinity. All good work is respected. Marina———–good job…drive on :!: my rue is to feel know pain of windows or sorrow of bitter shrubs :roll: …Oh, hide the property…hear the miscarriage :evil: bad tuna :lol: (natural aristocrates) pee not, said the cop

    • leonard says:

      :smile: [PIG]…spell pig backwords and say funny–MARINA–I dare you— :razz: Right on old man :razz: Cops will make you piss your pants and work you over with too much pay…[extortion]… :wink: make a law and ball the brawel…small words and big pricks :mad: pricks like Johnny Cash said in the song “Hurt”…smelly skunk; cops could arrest U :roll: …love a [pig]…g-i-p funny :lol: ?

  3. magix says:

    I always thought it was “Chief Of Police” But eh.

    … I’ll go with number… er… 3.

  4. Henry says:

    I always thought they are called “cops” because that’s the sound their shoes (or was it their horses?) make on cobblestone roads.

  5. rogues70 says:

    Cop well I plumb for No.2
    Can you tell me what is the origin of the word Amero and what the hell is it in fact?

  6. michael2 says:

    hello, Marina well I believe that the word cop came from the second theory. is this correct?
    what about the extracred!

  7. link57 says:

    :grin: i think its theory number 1 because it seems the most logical answer and i played this game were u hav to raise a baby to be a cop

  8. Henry says:

    I have another word: bull’s eye :)

  9. pelnied says:

    Hey beautiful! Ive been introduced to your youtube account and i was hoping you could do a word for me. Its Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia thank you

  10. axdurian2 says:

    Hey Marina,

    I think theory #3 about the cops is correct.

    And with it being Easter, i was wondering: where did the name Easter come from for this holiday?

  11. rebel says:


    Hello, I stumbled across your site and was instantly entertained, and you are too cool! I wish for you the greatest of success.

    You know there is a third and unrelated meaning for “Hooker”. The US Army in the latter years of the Vietnam War (1969 to 1973) flew Chinook Helicopters (Boeing CH-47), we the crew members, were known as “Hookers”. Playboy Bunnies found this rather interesting and amusing. You ask; what do Playboy Bunnies have to do with the Vietnam War? At Christmas time USO (United Services Organization) would provide tours, such as Bob Hope and others to include Bunnies. Chinooks are a very fast helicopter and one of the safest helicopters so we flew (mixed in with our combat missions) USO shows. I was very honored to have met Bob Hope, that’s another story.

    I have a word for you “intumescent”, I find you can have a intumescent effect on me…


  12. starving_bear says:

    Hi Marina,

    I am wondering if you could investigate origin of “Boondoggle”. My boddy always tell me “Boondoggle” when I go to Tokyo. It is not always something fun……..
    I, of course, know what exactly “Boondoggle” means, but do not know where it is coming from…


    starving bear

  13. prospero811 says:

    Hi Marina,

    Cop refers to a criminal – “one who cops.” And then it became “copper” referring to a police officer.


  14. parkourulez says:

    Dear Marina! :)

    I’d like to know the origin of the word “Holocaust”.

    Thank you very much !! :wink:

  15. chorddog says:

    Пожалуйста, where did the word “berserk” originate?
    Did it something to do with Vikings?
    Hmmm, where did the word “Viking” orginate?

  16. lainie says:

    Even though this one is probably very inappropriate, There have been so many meanings going around for the word “slut”, just to give everyone peace of mind, could you post a video about it? Even if you can’t let me know in an email or something.

    Much Love

    P.S: LOVE your work!!!

  17. glamoursex says:

    Dear Marina,
    Could you explain the word ‘HATE’. Also, I wonder if you could dress in Nikki fashion: black leather pants, white blouse open between the breasts, Sisters of Mercy starface necklace and a Sisters of Mercy starface tottoo above the vagina.

    Your Student
    Keith Nicklas Gustafsson MSc, CFA

  18. lcplburkett says:

    I think its theory number 1

  19. extremeslacker says:

    What is the origin of the word “PARADOXICAL”
    Definition: Seemingly contradictory but nonetheless possibly true.

    PS. I missed your first Maxim radio show on Sirius and I don’t see it on your website could you post it on your site.

  20. philophan says:

    COP’s origin: New York city police in the 1800′s wore uniforms with two rows of copper buttons. Those NY police were called coppers which was later shortened to cops.

  21. iaakov777 says:

    Hi! I think the second one is the correct answer :???: . Can you tell me what is the most longest word in the English language?

    Mazel tov.
    Bye Bye.

  22. Henry says:

    Hi Marina, I would like to request the word “spring.” How can one word have so many meanings? As a verb, it means to rise or leap. As a noun, it can mean a small stream of water or a coil of wire.

  23. chorddog says:

    Здравствуйте! Please, can you tell me the origin of the word, “dungarees” ?
    An old word for jeans or bluejeans is dungarees. Perhaps slang, however I found the word dungaree in a very old English (UK) dictionary. The definition is: ” – a coarse, inexpensive grade of East Indian cotton material.” Perhaps dungaree comes from Hindi or the name of a place in India where the material was popular.
    Спасиьо! Пока!

  24. augie says:

    :razz: number 2 is correct although number is also correct :razz: love and kisses

  25. kyle123 says:

    hello i would like to know where the phrase “gussied up” came from

  26. blue hornet says:

    I’ve always thought that ‘cop’ derived from the copper buttons on the uniforms worn by the constables, and ‘constables on patrol’ was a made-up phrase invented by the cops who wanted to pretend that there was an acronym. (Similar to the way cops in the 70s, who resented being called pigs, “invented” a phrase to make ‘pigs’ acronmyic: Pride, Integrity & Guts.

    Cop as a verb meaning ‘to steal’ is a fairly recent invention, I believe, though I haven’t cheated to read of any first citations.

  27. 2hot4teacher says:

    I’m going for #2.

    As for a word…I doubt that you want to sound like everything is about sex, but I think your take on the word “orgasm” would be quite entertaining.

    And like one of the erlier posts I am also curious about the saying, “I have a monkey on my back”

    Love the show, keep it up!

  28. bobsully says:

    I think #2 is correct. Seems I remember something about it being related to the mineral copper.

  29. oettinger says:

    I would have to say that theory #3 would be correct. But #1 has been brought up by many people.

  30. eh11211 says:

    Cute Marina,

    Please tell me anything you know about why ‘cocktail’ came to refer to drinks.


    PS Love you and what you do! x

    • timothyjack says:

      One story:

      French for eggcup = coquetier or “COCK-tee-AY”

      English bastardization of French word for eggcup = cocktay

      The first cocktails were medicinal and were blended and served in an eggcup, or a pharmacist’s measuring cup that resembled an eggcup.

      I’ll have another cocktay.

  31. Ignatious says:

    :lol: as a law enforcement officer “cops” avid watcher I know it is derived from the substance the officers badge was made from and as usual your performance was engaging, stimulating, and provocative

  32. blackmetal says:

    What Is The Origin Of Recidivate?

  33. phat22pat says:

    My friends and I are watching the college basketball tourney today and drinking beer. Instead of watching commercials, we decided to take shy away from the “boob-tube” and learn some valuable lessons from our favorite teacher. While glancing back at the game, we noticed a real “barn burner” going on.. That got us thinking… Where does the saying “barn burner ” come from and why?


    • timothyjack says:

      From agrarian life, when farm folk would gather to socialize at barn dances. If the evening got really exciting, everyone had a great time, it might “burn down the barn” — a barn burner.

      alt: Nothing was more dramatic than a barn burning down — a huge spectacle.

      alt: in cards, barn is slang for a full house. Any hand high enough to beat a full house is a barn burner.

  34. ortnerseb says:

    I have been wondering for a really long time, where the word “brouhaha” originated from.
    Thank you for all the videos and effort.

  35. japbeardude says:

    Where did the word “innuendo” come from?

  36. zonmaster says:

    All three choices sound correct

    #1,#2, & #3

  37. staircapades says:

    I like the word “Bamboozle”
    Perhaps you can explain why that word is so awkward
    Even the word “awkward” is awkward :mrgreen:

  38. staircapades says:

    How did the phrase
    “what’s up”
    come to being?

    • deragor says:

      And how do you do? Kind of redundant isn’t it?

      • alx says:

        no, it’s not. the first “do” is an auxiliary, the second a main verb. just replace the second “do” with another verb:

        how do you do your nails?
        how do you cut your nails?

      • deragor says:

        Yes, i already knew the two “do” were different, i was just speaking in terms of “variety”… But maybe this is just an Italian fixation…, we try not to use the same word two times too closely. But thanks anyway.

  39. jsmooth5atl says:

    I pick #3 because the word “cop” in verb form means to take or seize. I think police got the name cop from taking people to jail. Well that is my theory. I don’t have any incidents with the law. :mrgreen:

  40. I have never heard of theory #1 or #3, so I am going to answer #2, the only one I have heard before.

    I was wondering what the origin of the word “boycott” is. Bit of an odd word to me.

  41. theory 3. In the 1700′s cop was a slang term that meant “to capture”. Then in the mid-1800s, police officers where called cop because they are ones who captures criminals.

  42. ample says:

    hotforwords! I have a phrase I want you to investigate, it has been on my mind for awhile. Its the phrase “You Fired”. How does losing your job equal fire? It doesn’t make sense right?

  43. jswift says:

    cop come from the badge being made of copper

  44. arcamea says:

    Umm i would like to know the origin and the relationship is holds between the word “Dick”. How the word came to be and how it became a name for an individual. I mean if the word “dick” mean a penis, why would someone name a person after a penis?

  45. dgumz says:

    Cops comes from coppers which comes from the copper badges. The “brass” comes from the brass buttons of the elite.

    Marina, I am Guilty! Book me. Please! :lol:

  46. heavenhell says:

    Ok here goes my first comment – the origin of the word cop … the most reasonable explanation to me is the copper badge :roll: .
    I would like to ask for the origin of the word SMILE … I dream of world with more smiles than people … but where does the word come from ? hope you can tell me :grin:

  47. runawayscott says:

    I am sure that the answer is Number 2 from the copper badges originally worn by police. I’m dead sure of it :cool: . Unfortunately I’m far from the first one to guess it so I wont win the game :cry:
    No cop stories, I’m too much of a wuss to get into any trouble.

  48. nogeek says:

    I’d like to know the origin of the word “dump” as used when refering to a break-up. It’s always kind of confused me and I know that you could clear things up.

  49. politricks5 says:

    Theory # 2: Copper Badges.
    Because I am assuming that’s where the nickname “Brass” came from as well, Brass badges.

    Once while crossing the street a Cop beckoned at me and began writing a citation. When asked what the ticket was for, he said, “You were jay-walking”.

    To which I replied, “oh yeah, well now I’m Jay-Running!”

    And I ran away.. Played that boob like a Piano.

  50. zenjen88 says:

    I would life to know where the word Pediphile comes from.

    Other words such as pedicure and pedestrian both associate with feet but pedifile is different. yet they all have the same prefix ped.

    I would love for you to answer this.

    • timothyjack says:

      The key is in your spelling.

      Pedis = Foot from Latin

      Pedo or Paedo = Child from Greek paido (Brits spell it with the a; Americans leave off the a)

      Philos = Love from Greek

      A pedophile or paedophile “loves” — is sexually attracted to –children.

      The other words are about feet, not children.

  51. hatedge says:

    I suspect the origin of the word cop refers to the badge.
    It also would apply to higher ranking officers being called “brass”.

  52. mileycyrus says:

    Marina, No homework?

  53. pstawicki says:

    I had heard it was the Copper Buttons on the policemans uniform – thereby I must go with the Brass Badge as its the next best thing.

    Love your work Teacher!

    • theoddgeteven says:

      I agree with pstawicki here.

      Those big double breasted over coats are adounred with two rows of “copper” coloured buttons. I remeber my father cursing that fact as the “P Coat” buttons needed polishing before going on parade.
      I too think that the whole affair ,buttons and badge, and spurs, are in fact brass with a rich “copper” colour.
      The button shining process even came with a special gizmo to clasp the button away from the fabric so that the Braso didn’t soil the deep blue wool fabric.

      So long story short T #2 is the correct answer.

  54. bas says:

    What about the origins of the word “horny”?

  55. jw114 says:

    I would like for you to explore the word “conversate”. I have used this for several years and it drives some folks crazy that its not a word. Then this year it showed up on so I showed my boss, he said it was slang so it doesn’t count. Now however others are starting to use it in the daily communication. It would add some great validation to my belief of the use of the word if we could have feedback from you. Thanks.

  56. freakykid14 says:

    what does APANGEA mean?

  57. florinrinja says:

    i will only write a single comment, as i think that multiple comments are superfluous. i don’t want to be mean or anything, but some of the stuff i’ve heard here i already knew, in a form or another, for exemple the ketchup, yes it was a sos made from fish, but you never said HOW (and that actualy they discovered that SALT was ‘rotting’ (sort of speak) some species of fish and that they create after “rott” a pasta (or sauce).
    but, anyway, i like the way you’ve developed the whole postmodern philologic thing with the whole sharade with attractive looks and stuff. this idea is worthing more ( i think), (and i love originality) than the diploma that you said that you have, because this are the times we’re living and if this is a way of captivating someones atention and to expose your speech, than why the hell not?
    keep up the good work, and i would like to congrat you and the team that’s helping you.
    i don’t know if it’s a good word, but i propose the word: “bullseye”.
    is it a good one, or a bad one? you’ll figure it out.

  58. freakykid14 says:

    theiry number 1 :!: :?:

  59. rhoadess says:

    BTW, I do happen to know the reason why it is seems to be that men have this universal desire to ogle women, especially pretty women, it’s called testosterone, a.k.a. the hormone of desire. Humm, perhaps I should consider becoming a eunuch, Oy Vey :cry:

    • buzzword says:

      um… gay men have testosterone.

      • alx says:

        dude. don’t confuse them. now he’s got the choice between either becoming gay or becoming an eunuch. tough call.

      • captainjack says:

        If men didn’t ogle women, then homosapiens would die out. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. :shock: But one of the sexes has to have the job. Look at peacocks. The males are trying to look pretty to get the female to take a look them, saying “Look at me babes, Im to hot for you.” ….

      • alx says:

        a friend of a friend of mine believes that we’re basically gay. that that’d be our true nature or something, men and women just get together to reproduce, you know, keeping the species alive and all. and somehow it got out of hand. now we think that being straight is “more normal” than being gay.
        he seems to think that there’s different stages of gayness. said that I was a little gayer than that friend of mine. don’t ask me why.
        well, interesting theory. lol.

        I asked him if he was a gay french fascist, he said: yeah, exactly, that’s what I am. we even agreed that sarkozy is a wanna-be putin.

      • buzzword says:

        Men and women generally enjoy socializing in same sex groupings rather than mixed sex groupings. Even in mixed sex groupings men and women tend to break down into smaller same sex groupings. The basis of this of course is probably cultural in that bonding is based on sharing familiarities. Gender (which is different than sex) is a significant source for providing familiar experiences and producing social bonds. As alx mentioned women are seemingly complicated because they are so very different from men. Captainjack is correct in a sense, the body encourages overcoming these gender differences with rewards for engaging in potentially successful sexual relationships. mate selection Men it generally seems are equipped to visually judge physical characteristics of potential sexual partners as well as male competitors. eye tracking Scan down the page to see the particular relevance of this article. Although alx may find the entire article useful. Women in general measure of characteristics for mate selection and other future reproductive needs. what women want. There are many variables that influence sexual preference, ranging from the physical to cultural. homosexual characteristics There does seem to be a type of sexual preference gradient among individuals as alx mentioned. However this is only one factor of many that influence what type of lover one may be or become.

      • rhoadess says:

        Hi Buzzwor
        Yes, I should have been more precise, “most men”. Actually it’s probably not only testosterone that accounts for whom (or what) one is ogling, although it is what gives men and, to some extent, women their libido. I’m guessing there are also other hormones and factors involved, that cause different kinds of sexual desires, and/or determine toward whom, such as gender preference. Here is an episode on a public radio show called This American Life entitled “Testosterone”. Part one is about a man who was placed on a medication which completely naturalizes T, and he explains the experience. The next part is about a woman, who considers herself a man, so gets injected with large amounts of T, and explains her experience. She basically becomes, what most women would consider a male chauvinist pig. The episode, is obviously not a sufficient sample of what T does in most cases, but it is interesting.

  60. hitman says:

    Why Arnold must hide? Is he selling narcotics?

  61. emir simon says:

    The word COP comes from the copper on the badge.
    Great job!

  62. I think the 2nd one is the right one!
    btw girl, you look better every day :smile:
    keep going,
    grtz from Belgium

  63. hellskitchen23 says:

    Hello my dear teacher, your student HellsKitchen23 is here, back with another question,

    what is the origin of the word “Doctor”?

  64. strange034 says:

    Like to know more about the word “Strange”

  65. celtfoxx says:


  66. geoffm says:

    Hey, Marina!

    I heard once that the global company Sony chose its name because the word “Sony” has no meaning in any language. I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea how to research this…

    …do you have any ideas?

  67. pikilegends says:

    Ok, now this whole hotforwords things is based on a teacher talking to her students to learn… lessons. well why dont you tell us about the word lesson.

  68. rsagartz says:

    Where did we get the phrase “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”?

  69. exoticdanielstreet says:

    When I was little, my old man used to tell me it was constable on patrol, but I also have a feeling it could be number 3 too!
    Also my mate said to me the other day “I haven’t seen him in donkey’s years” Do you know where the phrase donkey’s years comes from?


    Dan x

  70. rhoadess says:

    Dear Helen D’ho, I mean, Teacher
    I don’t know if this is cheating but if it is, you’ll have to spank me :oops: , at any rate, I looked up the word cop in the dictionary, and one of the definitions in there has cop as an abbr for copper, cop therefore must mean that theory number 2 is likely the correct one. Now I was also wondering if there existed a word, for a woman’s need to be noticed and admired by every man on the planet? The reason I ask this is that this desire seems to be a universal truth, at least here on youtube.

  71. deragor says:

    I agree with captainjack. I mean, if i was supposed to choose the most reasonable one, i’d choose theory n°1. But since ppl always mess around with language (the comparison with the telephone game is just perfect) i choose theory n°3.

    To Captainjack
    In my studies i have been thaught that pretonic and postonic vowels (those before and after the stressed one) tend to fade away in english pronunciation, that’s probably the reason for all the abbreviations you mentioned. And the reason why i can’t understand a word of american english spoken at “normal” speed.

    • captainjack says:


      You like my analogies? When I worked in retail sales I used a lot of analogies to describe techie plasma TVs, Home theater system etc, to the layman. When I teach new concepts, this technique works very well for me and the students. :mrgreen:

      Yea my first guess was #1 but now I don’t trust anything I learned from school (as fact) or other people who don’t list their sources. I’ve been finding myself having to relearn many things.
      English is my worst subject. I used to be in… ok small embarrassing fact of me. :oops: . Special Education for my so called learning disabilities. The rules of English have way to many exceptions to the rules. So I used the rules as guide lines. Still didn’t work for me so I just put words in any way I feel like it. I had a girlfriend that lived in the Philippines always correcting my English. Funny thing is she knew English better than I did and English is my native language. :???:

      So Deragor, I understand your pain. I guess that’s why I learned computer programming when I was a kid because the rules were mandatory, no exceptions. I was happy to program! :grin:

      I think as human intelligence increase, I think there will less of this phenomenon will take place. Or we will start mind reading and do way with primitive form of communication we call speech.

      ~~_/ ) ~~ Capt.Jack

  72. fadi says:

    I would like to find out the origin of the word MUSIC! :D tnx :oops:

  73. captainjack says:

    I would guess #3. Why? Because in Etymology you find people play “The Telephone Game” with language. We always screw up the story. Even today we are changing words. Its just amazing that we can even find any origins of words today.

    What I find interesting is various cultures play the game a bit differently. For example 17th century sailors took would take a words like: “Top Gallant sail” and shorten it to “Ta’gallant” and other example would be “Boatswains” shorten to “Bos’n's”. When I was in the Navy we called one senior boatswain “Boats” instead of “Bos’n” I could keep going on here all night with this but Marina might ask me to “Pipe Down”.

    p.s. Love the guitar player (guitar2adam). Nice that Marina added you to the vid! Ooops I meant Video.

    ~~_/ )_~~ Capt. Jack

  74. fabry says:

    May You gimme an explanation for the expression “monkey on my back”?

    Thanks and kiss.
    Fabry from Italy

  75. fabry says:

    Hi Marina,

    i do think the right origin of the word “cop” is the third one……
    cop=copper=to steal the criminals away or something like that……

    am I right?

  76. JD says:

    Another 5 star lesson!
    I liked the interaction with Arnold and I really liked the Siren’s theme music… Yeah-ah, Yeah-ah.
    Your editing and music is always entertaining.
    I think the most reasonable theory is #3.
    Also, since you mentioned your Maxim radio show… were you on today (3/21) and if so, will you be posting it on your website?

  77. alx says:

    I’ll confess, officer. wanna hear my story?

  78. scrotos says:

    [I just read that you're not likely to get messages on youtube and I should post here, so... 'ere's me message!]

    re: Your Mistress

    For your abbreviation of “mistress” into “miss’s”, if people were being lazy and leaving out part of the word, shouldn’t it be: “mis’s” or “mis’ss”?

    I was also hoping you would address Ms. Now there’s something you don’t see spelled out anywhere… Mizz or Miz would be a decent phonetic approximation, I guess, but for some reason I’m thinking Ms. is based on some French word. I have no idea, though.

    For extra credit: Do you know where the root of my name comes from without looking it up? (I had to look it up myself) (the root I’m thinking of isn’t “naughty”)

    • Marina says:

      scrotos, I was trying to show that there is no spelling for mis’s or miss’s.. etc.. so I can’t really spell it wrong if there is no spelling.. but I could have put mis’s.. you are correct.

      As for the root of your name.. without looking it up I can’t think of any root but the obvious!

      As for Ms.. perhaps there is no spelling of that word as well… much like the Mrs. I don’t believe it is based on any word.. but a politically correct Mrs. or miss.

  79. newzealandheadcharge says:

    I’d Like to know how the word Easter came about ? Is it something to do with the Direction of East ?

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