Come A Cropper

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Come A Cropper : Phrases


Fall over or fail at some venture.


The derivation of this phrase isn't known for certain, although it may come from allusion to a headlong 'neck and crop' fall. A crop is the handle of a whip.

It is first cited in Robert S. Surtees' Ask mamma, 1858:

[He] "rode at an impracticable fence, and got a cropper for his pains."

By the time John C. Hotten published his A dictionary of modern slang, cant, and vulgar words in 1859, the phrase has come to refer to any failure rather than just the specific failure to stay on a horse:

"Cropper, 'to go a cropper', or 'to come a cropper', i.e., to fail badly."

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