cop out Look up cop out at
by 1942, noun and verb, "sneak off, escape," American English slang, probably from cop a plea (c. 1925) "plead guilty to lesser charges," probably from northern British slang cop "to catch" (a scolding, etc.); as in cop a feel "grope someone" (1930s); see cop (v.). Sense of "evade an issue or problem" is from 1960s.