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.
<a href="https://www.etymonline.com/word/copout">Etymology of copout by etymonline</a>
Harper, D. (n.d.). Etymology of copout. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved $(datetime), from https://www.etymonline.com/word/copout