This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Thing To Do Today: hop.

Hop. That's a one-footed jump.

Isn't it?

Well, not if you're a frog or a rabbit (hi there!). They hop on two legs. In America a bouncing ball hops on no legs at all.

Even a person who hops over a gate or onto a bus will probably not be doing quite what we usually think of as hopping.

And if you hop on a bus you'll be sitting still for most of the time.

In America you can hop a train. In Britain we'd be launchng ourselves over it, but in America all you have to do is take a ride on it.

In Britain hop it! is an order to go away far and fast; if you're on the hop you might be very busy, but you're more likely to be being faced with a situation for which you aren't prepared: the arrival of seven hungry Great Aunts caught me on the hop.

A hop used to be a dance of the sort that was later called a disco, but nowadays hops are much more likely to be the flowers of the climbing plant Humulus lupulus:

Hop Flower

 which are used to flavour beer.


Thing To Do Today: hop. This word for the action has around more or less forever. The Old English form was hoppian.

The plant name comes from the Middle Dutch word hoppe, and is related to the Norwegian hupp, which means tassel.

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