1650s, "to select (someone) for a group or club by a vote of members," from Latin cooptare "to elect, to choose as a colleague or member of one's tribe," from assimilated form of com- "together" (see com-) + optare "choose" (see option (n.)). For some reason this defied the usual pattern of Latin-to-English adaptation, which should have yielded co-optate (which is attested from 1620s but now is rare or obsolete). Sense of "take over" is first recorded c. 1953. Related: Co-opted; co-opting.
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