co-opt

To co-opt something is to take possession of it to use it for your own purposes. Don't co-opt your friend's short story title — take the time to come up with your own!

When you co-opt an idea, you use it as though you'd come up with it, despite the fact that someone else thought of it first. Politicians often do this, as when they co-opt a rival's popular positions or policies. Another way to use this word is to mean "appoint or elect to a committee." The Latin root, cooptare, means "to choose as a colleague or member of one's tribe."

Definitions of co-opt
  1. verb
    take or assume for one's own use
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    type of:
    accept, take
    make use of or accept for some purpose
  2. verb
    neutralize or win over through assimilation into an established group
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    type of:
    neutralize
    make politically neutral and thus inoffensive
  3. verb
    appoint summarily or commandeer
    “The army tried to co-opt peasants into civil defence groups”
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    type of:
    appoint, constitute, name, nominate
    create and charge with a task or function
  4. verb
    choose or elect as a fellow member or colleague
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    type of:
    elect
    select by a vote for an office or membership
Word Family