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Inherited from Old French coper, colper (to cut off), probably, derived from cop (blow), colp (modern coup), with its meaning coming from the idea of cutting off with a blow. It may correspond to a Vulgar Latin verb *colpāre, syncopated form of *colaphāre, from Latin colaphus (compare Old Spanish golpar, colpar, Old Galician-Portuguese golpar, golbar). Alternatively, possibly from Vulgar Latin *cuppāre (to behead), from Latin caput (head), although this is unlikely. Not related to couteau.


  • IPA(key): /
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  1. to cut, cut up; to chop, to sever
  2. to cut, to clip, to trim
    J’ai besoin de me faire couper les cheveux.I need to get my hair cut.
  3. to cut off, to keep out, to bar
    couper le cours d’une rivièreto block the course of a river
  4. to stop, prevent
    couper quelqu’un dans son élanto stop someone in their tracks
  5. to dilute, mix
    couper du whisky avec du cocato mix whisky with Coke
    L’industrie coupe le lait avec de l’eau pour se faire plus d’argent.
    The industry is diluting milk with water to make more money.
  6. to traverse
    Le fleuve de la Garonne coupe une grande partie du sud de la France
    The Garonne river flows through most of southern France.
  7. (intransitive, idiomatic) to take a shortcut through something, to cut through
    couper à travers champsto cut through fields
  8. (reflexive, of leather) to crack


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