1. a person or thing that hops.
  2. Informal. a person who travels or moves frequently from one place or situation to another (usually used in combination): a two-week tour designed for energetic city-hoppers.
  3. any of various jumping insects, as grasshoppers or leafhoppers.
  4. Australian. kangaroo.
  5. a funnel-shaped chamber or bin in which loose material, as grain or coal, is stored temporarily, being filled through the top and dispensed through the bottom.
  6. Railroads. hopper car.
  7. U.S. Politics. a box into which a proposed legislative bill is dropped and thereby officially introduced.
  8. one of the pieces at each side of a hopper casement.
  1. in the hopper, Informal. in preparation; about to be realized: Plans for the class reunion are in the hopper.

Origin of hopper

Middle English word dating back to 1200–50; see origin at hop1, -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for in the hopper


  1. a person or thing that hops
  2. a funnel-shaped chamber or reservoir from which solid materials can be discharged under gravity into a receptacle below, esp for feeding fuel to a furnace, loading a railway truck with grain, etc
  3. a machine used for picking hops
  4. any of various long-legged hopping insects, esp the grasshopper, leaf hopper, and immature locust
  5. Also called: hoppercar an open-topped railway truck for bulk transport of loose minerals, etc, unloaded through doors on the underside
  6. Southern African another name for cocopan
  7. computing a device formerly used for holding punched cards and feeding them to a card punch or card reader


  1. Edward. 1882–1967, US painter, noted for his realistic depiction of everyday scenes
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for in the hopper



"container with narrow opening at bottom," late 13c., perhaps an agent noun from hop (v.) via notion of grain juggling in a mill hopper.



"person or animal that hops," mid-13c., agent noun from hop (v.). From c.1200 as a surname, and perhaps existing in Old English (cf. hoppestre "female dancer").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

in the hopper in Science


[hŏpər]Grace Murray 1906-1992
  1. American mathematician and computer programmer who in 1951 conceived the idea for an internal computer program, called a compiler, that scanned a set of alphanumeric instructions (such as words and symbols) and compiled a set of binary instructions executed by the machine. Her ideas were widely influential in the development of programming languages, in particular COBOL.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.