by 1942, noun ("a cowardly escape, an evasion") and verb ("sneak off, escape, give up without trying"), American English slang, perhaps from cop a plea (c. 1925) "plead guilty to lesser charges," which is probably from northern British slang cop "to catch" (a scolding, etc.); as in cop a feel "grope someone" (1930s); see cop (v.). Sense of "evade an issue or problem" is from 1960s.
c. 1400, intransitive (as of the tongue, from the mouth); transitive use by 1560s; see hang (v.) + out (adv.). Colloquial meaning "to be found" is recorded from 1811, "in allusion to the custom of hanging out a sign or 'shingle' to indicate one's shop and business" [Century Dictionary]. As a noun (often hangout) "residence, lodging" attested from 1893; earlier "a feast" (1852, American English).
French, literally "in passing," from present participle of passer "to pass" (see pass (v.)). In reference to chess, first attested 1818.
1757, French, literally "out of combat." Hors (prep.) "out, beyond," is from Latin foris (adv.) "outside," literally "out of doors" (see foreign). De is from Latin de "of." For combat see combat (n.). A similar expression from French is hors concours "out of competition" (1884), of a work of art in an exhibition.