cop out(redirected from a cop-out)
1. verb To avoid something, often sneakily or due to cowardice. Don't cop out of this by not coming to the disciplinary meeting—you need to take responsibility for your actions!
2. verb To break one's commitment to someone or something. I said I'd go to the birthday party, but I didn't have anything to wear and copped out at the last minute. Unfortunately, I wasn't surprised when Steve tried to cop out.
3. verb To plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to avoid a trial or a more severe punishment. If you don't want to go to jail, I think your best option here is to cop out.
4. noun An unsatisfactory answer, excuse, or reason for something. When used as a noun, the phrase is typically hyphenated or written as one word. The Beatles are your favorite band? Geez, what a cop-out—everybody likes the Beatles! You need to take responsibility here, so don't give me some lame copout about why you can't go to the disciplinary meeting.
cop out(of something) and cop out (on something)
1. Sl. to withdraw from doing something. Are you copping out of this job? No, I'm not copping out!
2. S. to break one's promise about doing something. You said you would and now you are copping out of it. I'm not copping out. I just can't find the time.
3. Sl. to plead guilty (to a lesser charge). Frank copped out and got off with a night in the cooler.
(on someone) Sl. to break one's promise to someone. (See also previous.) Come on! Don't cop out on me! You promised me you would do it! Don't cop out now!
(on something) Go to cop out (of something).
Back out of a responsibility or commitment; also, take the easy way out. For example, Don't count on him; he's been known to fake illness and cop out, or She'll cop out and let her assistant do all the work. These meanings are derived from the underworld slang use of cop out for backing down or surrendering. [Late 1950s]
To avoid fulfilling some commitment or responsibility: I was too tired to go out, so I copped out on my friends. The students copped out of cleaning up after the party.
1. in. to plead guilty (to a lesser charge). (see also cop a plea.) I decided not to cop out and got a mouthpiece instead.
2. in. to give up and quit; to chicken out (of something). Why do you want to cop out just when things are going great?
3. n. a poor excuse to get out of something. (Usually cop-out or copout.) That’s not a good reason. That’s just a cop-out.