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7 comments on this post.
  1. Lynne:

    More in support of the above: It seems that one cannot watch British crime drama (modern or period) without someone, usually on the wrong side of the law, referring to a member of the constabulary as a “copper”. I would guess Britain is the source of the word now the noun of choice for the people in blue. (Just doesn’t have the same impact as “Men in Blue” does it?)

  2. Alex:

    As a British person myself, I just want to say that we never use the term “Men in Blue”. The correct term is “Boys in Blue” :-)

  3. Skip Intro:

    I was under the fairly certain impression that the use of cop arose at the time of the first modern police force Robert Peel’s Metropolitan Police Force. The police were variously referred to as “bobbies” after Robert and “peelers” – the same. Cockney slang often used backwards pronunciation “dillo” for old, for example, “deb” for bed and “escop” for police. This eventually was shortened to cop.

  4. Simon:

    I hope at least some of those crimes you’re asked to solve involve Microsoft Word somehow.

  5. Lynne:

    How is ‘escop’ backwards for ‘police’ ? I get ‘ecilop’ if I use reverse spelling and ‘eeslope’ phonetically.

  6. Lynne:

    Sorry, my nationality is showing :-)

    But it still ends up ‘People in Blue’ when you politically correctivize it.

  7. E. Thomas:

    For 19th c. acronyms, the slang category would probably have some. Maybe more likely in the US. That could be an interesting search. I’ll have to add that to my list…let’s see…that is search no.158. I’m working on The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle right now, along with The Anglo-Saxon World. A whole new world of words as well.

    This is a good article. Ditto on “Homeland Security” – gives me what I call the whim-whams. (I don’t think there’s any etymology for that one.) The article…you gave the choice between the 15th c. definition “spider”, and “policeman”, officer, whatever, for “cop”. There’s also the verb, which the original words were. Latin to Old French to Scots to English, “to take” (capere), “to take” (caper), “to seize” (cap), “to arrest” (cap obsolete) respectively. Now, how to connect all those words & meanings to a policeman? Not a clue.

    God I love words.

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