Monday, March 11, 2013


cope [kəʊp] n.

1.) In the University of Cambridge, a cape or tippet of ermine worn by doctors of divinity on certain special occasions.
2.) Eccl. A vestment of silk or other material resembling a long cloak made of a semicircular piece of cloth, worn by ecclesiastics in processions, also at Vespers, and on some other occasions. Often erroneously used as a historical term, where chasuble or pallium would be correct as a matter of fact.
3.) fig. (In cope of night, the primary notion was apparently 'cloak'; but in later use, that of 'canopy' or 'vault' appears to be sometimes present; cf. sense 4.)
4.) a. cope of heaven: the over-arching canopy or vault of heaven, under the cope of heaven = 'under heaven, in all the world' (an exceedingly common phrase from the 14th century to the 18th century). b. Also simply the cope. c. In later usage, apparently, vaguely used for (a) vertex, height (as if confused with cop); (b) firmament, expanse. d. A vault or canopy like that of the sky.
5.) Founding. The outer portion or case of a mould; the outer mould in bell-founding.
6.) A superficial deposit considered as a covering or coating of the stratum beneath.
7.) The coping of a wall, etc. (Oxford English Dictionary 2nd Edition).

Etymology: Middle English cope, from Old English -cap, from Medieval Latin capa, cloak, from Late Latin cappa.

"Are we struck with admiration at beholding the cope of heaven imaged in a dew-drop? The least of the animalcula to which that drop would be an ocean contains in itself an infinite problem of which God omni-present is the only solution. The slave of custom is roused by the rare and the accidental alone; but the axioms of the unthinking are to the philosopher the deepest problems as being the nearest to the mysterious root and partaking at once of its darkness and its pregnancy" ("The Statesman's Manual", Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1816).

(Nymphéas, paysage d'eau, les nuages, Claude Monet, 1903)

If there are any experts on the IPA out there (I'm looking at you Evi), what is the difference between kəʊp and koʊp? Apparently the former is the British pronunciation of this word and the latter is the American, but I can't hear any difference (I just used the British woman because she sounded attractive to me). Thanks for reading!


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Very appropriate for the start of the Conclave of Cardinals!

Eddie said...

RYC and re. what M19, E17 etc means, this is the OED's abbreviation for when a word was first recorded, so M19 = mid-19th century, E17 = early 17th century, etc. You're not the first person to ask me about this, but I've vacillated somewhat in addressing it, as I could either write a small guide on OED abbreviations or just write them longhand in the definition. Any thoughts?

Evi @ sexta-feira said...

Oh E! A mention? That's exciting, thank you!

There is a difference and it makes it easier for us non-native speakers to discern whether someone is from the US or the UK. However, I'm not sure how to describe it to you in writing. So, I'm just going to try.

The British diphthong contains the "schwa" (, so the lips are neutral, but as we glide to the second sound they change to loosely rounded. This might be helpful:

The American diphthong, on the other hand, needs more rounded lips.
You can watch this: (skip to 1.38, listen carefully and look at her lips)

I hope this is not too confusing. :)

PeaceLoveandSharpies said...

omg Monet
He's like my inspiration for everything I'm going to cry

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