What does 'got popped' mean exactly in this context?

I have your name on a $5,000 transfer via Western Union to a 9/11 hijacker. And you got popped with 150 kilograms of high explosives in your house!

(Film: Zero Dark Thirty - United States, 2012)

2 Answers 2


To "get popped" means to get caught by the police.

  1. Slang To take into legal custody; arrest: "Her friend was visiting and got popped for a DUI"
  • 1
    It's an interesting usage in an American film. I always thought that to "get popped" was to be murdered by a hit man
    – Andrew
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 19:46
  • @Andrew Wouldn't that be getting "offed" though? I do think "popped" in the slang sense has a lot of different meanings depending on context though. This headline for example: Ex-SEAL: Ventura Got Popped After Popping Off.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 20:12
  • @ColleenV Got offed, got whacked, got hit, etc. Probably most of these were made up by Hollywood writers though, although apparently real gangsters started talking like the characters in The Godfather after the movie became popular. Life imitates art. :)
    – Andrew
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 20:16
  • 1
    @Andrew I suppose it could be used that way, in the right context. But with the clarifying "got popped with (contraband)", it is taken to mean "caught by police with (contraband), which makes things worse for him" (or easier for the police).
    – BradC
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 20:17
  • @BradC Yes, to be clear your answer is correct. I just thought the slang meant something else.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 20:26

"Popped" is a street term for an encounter with law enforcement. I can include many specific actions such as merely questioning to arrest or detainment.

I don't remember this specific dialog but it's clear form the context of Zero Dark 30 that the subject has at least been apprehended and is/was in custody of some agency.

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