1. [late 18C+] (US, also copperskin, Mr Copperskin) a Native American; also attrib.
2. as money.
(a) [late 18C+] a halfpenny; thus coppers, mixed pennies and halfpennies.
(b) [late 18C+] (US) a cent.
(c) [1930s] in pl., wages.
(d) [1970s] (W.I.) in pl., money in general.
3. [mid-19C+] a police officer [the SE copper badges carried by New York City’s first police sergeants; patrolmen had brass badges, lieutenants and captains silver ones; strengthened by cop v. (1)].
4. attrib. use of sense 3.
5. [late 19C+] an informer, whether in or out of prison.
6. [20C+] (US prison) good conduct marks.
7. [1920s] a private detective.
8. [1940s] (US Und./police) ext. of sense 6, parole.
9. see copperhead n. (3)
1. [mid-19C–1960s] being an informer by nature; thus turn copper-hearted, to betray one’s associates.
2. [1930s+] mean, vicious, adhering to the negative stereotypes of the police.
[1930s] a police station.
[1950s] (US drugs/Und.) excessive fear of the police, verging on obsession.
1. [1910s] a prison warden.
2. [1920s-30s] a prison.
3. [1940s] an informer.
see copman n.1
see wooden nickel under wooden adj.
[1910s; 1950s] (UK juv.) a police officer.
see helmet n. (1)
[20C+] a police station .
[20C+] (US Und.) used of one who is terrified of the police.
see sense 1 above.
[late 19C+] a police informer.
[late 19C] a police station.
1. [19C] a police truncheon.
2. the penis [fig. use of sense 1 + stick n. (1a)].
[1930s+] (US prison) to lose the reduction in sentence that would otherwise accrue for good conduct; thus hold one’s copper, to maintain good conduct.
[1930s+] (UK Und.) to inform the police.
[1930s+] to become an informer.
[late 19C+] to raise the alarm.
[1990s+] (Aus.) to defecate.
(US) a half-cent.
[1930s+] to inform.
[1900s] (UK Und.) to inform (on).
[1910s] (UK Und.) to inform against.
see call copper
[late 19C–1950s] (US) to become an informer.