come a cropper

come a cropper


  • to not succeed at something
  • to fall over
  • to fail at a venture
  • something that has come to its ruin
  • to fail miserably

Example Sentences

  1. The minister came a cropper as soon as she was elected. Hence she was transferred from her ministry and given something else to do in the cabinet.
  2. She seemed to come a cropper shortly after her promotion as cabinet minister.


The phrase come from a British origin which is said to have been amongst the imaginations of the Victorian inventors who brought the phrase about from Henry Smith Cropper, the Sheriff of Nottingham. The phrase is speculated to have begun from the accidents that took place in the printing press that H.S. Cropper owned, which left the hands of the workers in a state of ruin.

There is another speculated origin too. The Old Norse word for crop was Kropp which meant something that was swollen. The gullet of a bird or seed have come from this origin too. The back portion of the horse or the nether region came to be known as the crop. A neck to crop fall which could lead to serious disabilities or even death was eventually known as come a cropper. Edward Nairne used this phrase in his work “Poems” in the year 1791.

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