Etymology
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cooper (n.)

"craftsman who makes barrels, tubs, and other vessels from wooden staves and metal hoops," late 14c. (late 12c. as a surname), either from Old English (but the word is unattested) or from a Low German source akin to Middle Dutch cuper, East Frisian kuper, from Low German kupe (German Kufe) "cask, tub, vat," which is from or cognate with Medieval Latin cupa (see coop (n.)).

A dry cooper makes casks, etc., to hold dry goods, a wet cooper those to contain liquids, a white cooper pails, tubs, and the like for domestic or dairy use. [OED]

As a verb, "to make barrels, casks, etc.," 1746. The surname Cowper (pronounced "cooper") preserves a 15c. spelling.

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Definitions of cooper
1
cooper (v.)
make barrels and casks;
2
cooper (n.)
a craftsman who makes or repairs wooden barrels or tubs;
Synonyms: barrel maker
3
Cooper (n.)
United States industrialist who built the first American locomotive; founded Cooper Union in New York City to offer free courses in the arts and sciences (1791-1883);
Synonyms: Peter Cooper
Cooper (n.)
United States film actor noted for his portrayals of strong silent heroes (1901-1961);
Synonyms: Gary Cooper / Frank Cooper
Cooper (n.)
United States novelist noted for his stories of American Indians and the frontier life (1789-1851);
Synonyms: James Fenimore Cooper
From wordnet.princeton.edu