- A justifiable or reasonable capture or apprehension; also, broadly, a just or inescapable accusation.
1891, Montagu Stephen Williams, Later Leaves: Being the Further Reminiscences of Montagu Williams, Q. C., Macmillan and Co.:
- "Several other witnesses gave corroborative evidence, and a constable who helped to arrest the prisoners stated that one of them, on being taken into custody, said: 'Ah, well, this is a fair cop.'"
1900, William Pett Ridge, A Breaker of Laws, Harper & Brothers:
- "'A fair cop,' murmured Ladd feebly. 'I give in, mister; it's a fair cop.'"
1919, George Bernard Shaw, Heartbreak House, Great Catherine, and Playlets of the War, Brentano's:
- "No, by thunder! It was not a fair cop. We were four to one."
1999, Diana Gabaldon, The Outlandish Companion, Delacorte Press:
- "Okay, it's a fair cop. Claire's not a Bible scholar, and neither am I. It wasn't Gideon, it was Jephthah (Judges 12)."