Green’s Dictionary of Slang

pop off v.1

[SE pop, to move]

1. to die.

[UK]Foote Patron in Works (1799) I 333: Indeed, if Lady Pepperpot should happen to pop off —.
[UK]Mme D’Arblay Diary (1891) I 11: What a pity it would have been had I popped off in my last illness, without knowing what a person of consequence was!
[UK]C. Dibdin ‘The Greenwich Pensioner’ Collection of Songs I 172: Thank’d God I was not popped off, / And went to sea again.
[UK] ‘Meg of Wapping’ Jovial Songster 70: So she popp’d off, and Tom [...] Spent the shiners of old Meg of Wapping.
[UK]R. Ryan Everybody’s Husband I i: When the old lady pops off, they’ll be tolerably snug.
[UK]Comic Almanack Nov. 196: It’s a pleasanter trick to be popp’d off quick, / Than be kill’d by lingering stages.
[UK]F. Smedley Lewis Arundel 32: Some of the fools about here wanted me to put up for the country if he popped off.
[US]H.B. Stowe Sam Lawson’s Oldtown Fireside Stories (1881) 37: He [...] was one o’ the sort that might pop off any time.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 8 Aug. 6/2: Our life hangs by a thread, you see, / And when that’s cut, why, so must we – / At death we never ought to scoff, / For, sad to say, we soon ‘pop off.’.
[UK]Albert Chevalier ‘Wot Cher!’ [lyrics] ‘Ma’am,’ says he, ‘I ’ave some news to tell, Your rich Uncle Tom of Camberwell, Popped off recent, which it ain’t a sell, Leaving you ’is little Donkey Shay.
[UK]D. Cotsford Society Snapshots 263: Awfully ill, poor thing . . . might pop off at any moment.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 20 Mar. 1/1: The love-and-lucre-owning lady also notes with anxiety the poppings-off in the East.
[UK]Marvel III:63 7: If he don’t pop off mighty sharp, it’s odds on you’ll assist him!
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 11 Oct. 12/2: I always thought he would pop off suddenly. When did he died?
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 8: You saw only your mother die. I see them pop off every day in the Mater and Richmond and cut up into tripes in the dissecting room.
[UK]A. Christie Three Act Tragedy (1964) 142: Funny thing is he popped off just the same way as old Strange did.
[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 640: We get hit, pop off, no priest.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Men, Big World 139: A couple of months ago he made a new will, and he told me over a month ago that everything was in order in case he popped off.
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 229: The junkies [...] were popping off right and left from an O.D. or from getting shot.
[UK]G.F. Newman Villain’s Tale 110: But you see if my old mum didn’t pop off yesterday.
[UK]P. Reading ‘Legacies’ in Tom O’Bedlam’s Beauties 48: Peregrine’s popping off like that must have upset the old bird, I suppose.
[UK]Guardian G2 29 Nov. 22: Her mother is dead (’All at once [...] she just popped off’).

2. to depart.

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 138: ‘Popp’d off,’ ran away.
[UK]Hull & Eastern Counties Herald 4 Jan. 8/3: ’Yes; let’s pop off,’ said Prince Orloff [...] and they popped off.
[UK]Collins & Godfrey [perf. Vesta Victoria] Now I have to call him Father [lyrics] ‘Pop off, its time to go to bed’.
[UK]A.N. Lyons Arthur’s 46: ‘You pop off!’ repeated ’Erb.
[UK]C. Mackenzie Sinister Street II 1114: What, say good-bye to dear old Leicester Square and pop off for good and all?
[UK]Wodehouse Leave it to Psmith (1993) 444: She popped off and married a cove called Jackson.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Have His Carcase 257: I’d better pop off home.
[US]E. O’Neill Iceman Cometh 155: Hardly the decent thing to pop off without saying good-bye to old Harry.
[UK]J.B. Priestly Three Men in New Suits 123: ‘Pop off, you!’ shouted Eddie.
[US]Mad mag. Jan.–Feb. 22: Go on back home or I’ll paste you one! Pop off!
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 93: I decided to pop off to Jersey for a holiday.
[UK]R. Rendell Best Man To Die (1981) 125: If Carol chose to pop off with her boy friend for a couple of months, she wasn’t one to stand in her way.
[UK]Wodehouse Much Obliged, Jeeves 102: So I popped in, popped the book in the briefcase and popped off.
[UK]Willy Russell Educating Rita I i: Yes, that’s it, you just pop off and put your head in the oven.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 405: Dougie keeps popping off to the khazi for fat rails.

3. to happen, to start.

[US]Snoop Doggy Dogg ‘Murder was the Case’ [lyrics] Late night I hear toothbrushes scrapin on the floor / Niggaz gettin they shanks, just in case the war pops off.
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 160: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] It’s crackin. What’s poppin? What’s hapnin? What’s cracka-lackin? Whatever’s clever.
[US]P. Beatty Sellout (2016) 102: A shoot-out would pop off at the swap meet.

In phrases

pop off the hooks (v.)

to die.

[UK] ‘The Sailors Consolation’ in Jovial Songster 45: He’s popp’d off the hooks, and we ne’er see him more!
[Aus] Launceston Advertiser (Tas.) 21 Aug. 272/3: ‘In plain English, then,— the parson being about to kick the bucket—’ ‘Kick the —’ ‘Ay,— hop the twig,— or pop off the hooks :— pick-and-choose, I've a variety’.
[UK]R. Barham ‘The Black Mousquetaire’ in Ingoldsby Legends (1842) 29: I fear by his looks, / Our friend, Francis Xavier, has popp’d off the hooks!
[US] ‘Spanking Jack’ in Champagne Charley Songster 55: [as cit. 1800].
G.R. Sims Mary Jane’s Memoirs 112: He’d said his mother would soon pop off the hooks, and he’d have all her money.
[Aus]‘Henry Handel Richardson’ Aus. Felix (1971) 208: Between ourselves it’s a thousand pities he doesn’t just pop off the hooks in one of his bouts.
[US]New Yorker 26 May 32/2: I agreed not to say ‘death’, ‘dying’, [...] ‘go home feet first’, ‘pop off the hooks’.
[UK]York Herald 2 Jan. 9/3: Come down and see me if you can. I am awfully ill — may pop off the hooks at any moment.