Meaning of on the hop in English:

on the hop

See synonyms for on the hop


informal British
  • 1Unprepared.

    • ‘he was caught on the hop’
    • ‘I have to admit I was caught on the hop, completely unaware that the draw had even taken place.’
    • ‘He added: ‘We were caught on the hop by the number of people that wanted to come and express their solidarity.’’
    • ‘But we just relaxed slightly and were caught on the hop which was a great shame.’
    • ‘Even at the special meeting held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre last Tuesday, there were times when the board were caught on the hop and accused of complacency and arrogance.’
    • ‘Caught on the hop by rapidly shifting priorities in Washington and London, the intelligence community, which had regarded Iran as the greater threat, may have been unable to adapt in time.’
    • ‘The Government appeared to have been caught on the hop by the Supreme Administrative Court decision on Kozlodui last Thursday.’
    • ‘Even the president's natural supporters were caught on the hop, leaving them little choice but to ride the negative wave of public reaction lest they drown in it.’
    • ‘Just a few weeks ago the rogue traders were caught on the hop.’
    • ‘He also keeps his laptop beside him each evening, monitoring world price movements to avoid being caught on the hop.’
    • ‘Mr Clarke was clearly caught on the hop if his comments in response to our reporter's questions are anything to go by.’
    unprepared, unready, off guard, unawares, by surprise, with one's defences down
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  • 2Bustling about; busy.

    • ‘we were always kept on the hop’
    • ‘She gave us a brilliant, capricious Serse, always a King, always keeping his subjects on the hop.’
    • ‘As always, music is keeping Tommy Cowan on the hop.’
    • ‘It was my periodontist, racing the clock and on the hop, who gave me two weeks to choose between two very depressing solutions to the root problem which has me miserably swallowing antibiotics.’
    • ‘Simultaneously Digvijay started on the twin tracks of populism on the one hand and administrative change on the other which kept the opposition on the hop.’
    • ‘Carlos, who was named after Carlos the Jackal, has been on the hop ever since.’
    • ‘Centuries to Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn kept Leicestershire on the hop as Australia amassed 7 for 582, scoring 413 runs in the day.’
    busy, occupied, employed, working, at work, rushed off one's feet, hard-pressed, on the job
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