1. a malleable, ductile, metallic element having a characteristic reddish-brown color: used in large quantities as an electrical conductor and in the manufacture of alloys, as brass and bronze. Symbol: Cu; atomic weight: 63.54; atomic number: 29; specific gravity: 8.92 at 20°C.
  2. a metallic reddish brown.
  3. a coin composed of copper, bronze, or the like, as the U.S. cent or the British penny.
  4. any of several butterflies of the family Lycaenidae, as Lycaena hypophleas (American copper), having copper-colored wings spotted and edged with black.
  5. a container made of copper.
  6. a tool partly or wholly made of copper: a soldering copper.
  7. British. a large kettle, now usually made of iron, used for cooking or to boil laundry.


  1. made of copper: copper kettles.
  2. reddish-brown; coppery: The copper sun sank into the sea.

verb (used with object)

  1. to cover, coat, or sheathe with copper.
  2. Informal. hedge(def 6).

noun Slang.

  1. a police officer.


    1. a malleable ductile reddish metallic element occurring as the free metal, copper glance, and copper pyrites: used as an electrical and thermal conductor and in such alloys as brass and bronze. Symbol: Cu; atomic no: 29; atomic wt: 63.546; valency: 1 or 2; relative density: 8.96; melting pt: 1084.87±+0.2°C; boiling pt: 2563°CRelated adjectives: cupric, cuprous Related prefix: cupro-
    2. (as modifier)a copper coin
    1. the reddish-brown colour of copper
    2. (as adjective)copper hair
  1. informal any copper or bronze coin
  2. mainly British a large vessel, formerly of copper, used for boiling or washing
  3. any of various small widely distributed butterflies of the genera Lycaena, Heodes, etc, typically having reddish-brown wings: family Lycaenidae


  1. (tr) to coat or cover with copper


  1. a slang word for policeman Often shortened to: cop

malleable metallic element, Old English coper, from West Germanic *kupar (cf. Middle Dutch koper, Old Norse koparr, Old High German kupfar), from Late Latin cuprum, contraction of Latin Cyprium (aes) “Cyprian (metal),” after Greek Kyprios “Cyprus” (see Cyprus).

Latin aes originally was “copper,” but this was extended to its alloy with tin, bronze, and as this was far more extensively used than pure copper, the word’s primary sense shifted to the alloy and a new word evolved for “copper,” from the Latin form of the name of the island of Cyprus, where copper was mined. Aes passed into Germanic (which originally did not distinguish copper from its alloys) and became English ore. In Latin, aes was the common word for “cash, coin, debt, wages” in many figurative expressions. Chemical symbol Cu is from cuprum.


“policeman,” 1846; agent noun from cop (v.).

n. Symbol Cu

  1. A malleable metallic trace element used in its salt forms as an astringent, deodorant, and antifungal, and whose radioisotope is used in brain scans and for diagnosing Wilson’s disease. Atomic number 29.


  1. A reddish-brown, ductile, malleable metallic element that is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. It is widely used for electrical wires, water pipes, and rust-resistant parts, either in its pure form or in alloys such as brass and bronze. Atomic number 29; atomic weight 63.546; melting point 1,083°C; boiling point 2,595°C; specific gravity 8.96; valence 1, 2. See Periodic Table. See Note at element.

  1. See Chalcolithic.
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