|"Why is we called coppers? Ooh that's a good'un, that. Lemme 'ave a fink ..."|
Noun. Slang. Mid-19th century.
A police officer.
Cops and coppers are both commonly used slang terms for 'police'. But where do they come from? Various theories exist, including cop being an acronym for Constable on Patrol, and copper being a reference to the colour of the brass buttons on old police uniforms. The truth, however, is a lot simpler but no less interesting - it's derived directly from the English verb to cop, meaning 'to capture, to catch'. This, with the suffix -er added, means a copper is simply 'one that captures [the bad guys]'. Coz that's what police do. Easy.
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