come a cropper



Possibly from the phrase neck and crop, in which crop may refer to the backside of a horse.


  • (file)


come a cropper (third-person singular simple present comes a cropper, present participle coming a cropper, simple past came a cropper, past participle come a cropper)

  1. (originally) To fall headlong from a horse.
  2. (Britain, idiomatic) To suffer some accident or misfortune; to fail.
    She came a cropper on the stairs and broke her leg.
    • 1879, Anthony Trollope, chapter 67, in The Duke's Children:
      I should feel certain that I should come a cropper, but still I'd try it. As you say, a fellow should try.
    • 1922, Katherine Mansfield, At The Bay[1]:
      You couldn't help feeling he'd be caught out one day, and then what an almighty cropper he'd come!



  • 1953, Mervyn Peake, Mr Pye, William Heinemann:
    You tried to convey too much and you conveyed nothing. You came a cropper, major.

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