General English


  • noun a metallic trace element. It is essential to biological life and used in making alloys and in electric wiring.


  • noun a metal which is traded on commodity exchanges such as the London Metal Exchange


  • A pure metal that is ductile, malleable, nonmagnetic, and high in electrical and thermal conductivity. Used for roofing in many historic buildings, copper is also a primary material in piping and electrical wiring.


  • A reddish metallic element whose atomic number is 29. It is lustrous, malleable, diamagnetic, ductile, and an excellent conductor of heat. Among the elements, only silver surpasses it as a conductor of electricity. It has a very high melting point, is not too chemically reactive, and has about 25 known isotopes, of which 2 are stable. Its applications in electronics are many, and include its use in electric wiring, electroplating, and in many useful alloys such as brass. Its chemical symbol is Cu.
  • chemical symbolCu


  • A trace element necessary for health. Sufficient is usually obtained from water that has been delivered via copper pipes.


  • noun a red metal used for halftone blocks and in engravings


  • noun a police officer. The word originated in Britain in the 1840s, from ‘to cop’ as a humorous or racier alternative to ‘to catch’.

Origin & History of “copper”

A major source of copper in the ancient world was the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, so the Romans called it cyprium aes ‘metal of Cyprus’. this became cuprum in late Latin, from which it was borrowed into prehistoric west and north Germanic as *kupar, source of Old English coper. (Copper the slang term for ‘policeman’ (19th c.) is simply the agent noun formed from the verb cop ‘seize’, which probably comes via Old French caper from Latin capere ‘seize, take’, source of English capture.).