AskDefine | Define copse

Dictionary Definition

copse n : a dense growth of bushes [syn: brush, brushwood, coppice, thicket]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A thicket of small trees or shrubs.


  • 1798, William Wordsworth, Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey, lines 9-15 (for syntax)
    The day is come when I again repose
    Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
    These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard tufts,
    Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
    Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
    'Mid groves and copses.
  • 1919, Ronald Firbank, Valmouth, Duckworth, hardback edition, page 19
    Striking the highway beyond the little copse she skirted the dark iron palings enclosing Hare.

Related terms


Thicket of small trees or shrubs

Extensive Definition

A copse is an English term for a small lowland woodland. It is often used as a part of a place name, for example Borthwood Copse on the Isle of Wight, or Moor Copse near Tidmarsh.
The term is derived from the similar and linked word coppice. Most woodlands which have copse as a part of their name were probably coppiced once, but this does not mean that the practice continues today, as it was once a lot more popular than it is now. As coppicing was mostly practiced in lowland England, this is the area where use of the word is most common.
However, the word has entered the language as a term simply meaning a small woodland, and perhaps implying some rustic overtones, and so it is occasionally given to new woodlands or applied to areas which have no connection with coppicing.

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Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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