Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hop the twig v.

1. (UK Und., also jump the twig) to run away.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Hop the Twig. To run away.
[UK]C. Dibdin ‘Dicky Ditto’ in Buck’s Delight 74: O! I’ll hop the twig, sir.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 5 Aug. 2/4: Several black-legs, having run at the wrong side of the winning-post, thought proper to hop the twig.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 9 Jan. 3/3: ’Twere better to hop the twig than tamely stay.
[UK]Chester Chron. 29 Jan. 3/5: In 1817, when th1ings went rather queer with him, and his Creditors pressed him a little too closely, what did Bill do? — hop the twig!
[US]R. Waln Hermit in America on Visit to Phila. 2nd series 25: It’s time to hop the twig; I’ll draw in my horns.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 189: I have lost my ticker; and all my toggery has been boned, I am nearly as naked as when I was born – and the cause – the lady-bird – has hopped the twig.
[Ire] ‘Away, To The Spotted Cow’ Dublin Comic Songster 280: But if I’m unlucky, and lose a crown, / I hops the twig, and away, away.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 22 Nov. 3/1: The man Eales, it appears, backed an individual to ‘hop the twig’.
[UK]Paul Pry 27 Nov. n.p.: Thou would-be dancer, ceace thy fearful jig, / Lest Paul, in anger, makes thee hop thy twig.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 51: HOP THE TWIG, to run away.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 276/2: Says Jenny if you think I’ll come, / You’ll find it is no go! / When a bird-catcher named ‘Lummy’ / Pounced down upon the Nightingale, / And with her hopp’d the twig!
[UK]Western Times 16 Oct. 5/5: Avaunt! hop the twig and away from my sight.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. [as cit. 1859].
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Nov. 6/1: Another of the Queen’s faithful gillies has gone to join John Brown. Bowman, her gamekeeper and humble toady ‘hopped the twig’ in a remarkably ingenious manner.
[UK]A. Morrison Tales of Mean Streets (1983) 54: Skulky’s ’opped the twig an’ sneaked your tools. Gawd knows where ’e is by now.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 24 Mar. 5/5: I Do not see how can expect many Prohibitionists to ‘hop the twig’ after such an announcement.
[UK]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 28 June 3/6: When I’ve cash I mount a gig; / When I’ve none I hop the twig.

2. (also leap the twig) to die.

[UK]M. Robinson Walsingham IV 280: [He] kept his bed three days, and hopped the twig on the fourth.
[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 38: You may be beholden to it [i.e. Scotland] yet before you hop the twig.
I. Pocock Omnibus I i: You mean to leave us all you have, you know, when you hop the twig.
[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]Punch I 17 July 4: Clare [...] Hops the twig and goes to glory in white muslin.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 17 Apr. 6/1: The venches all vept ven poor Tom hopt the twig.
[US]R.F. Burton City of the Saints 193: The serious resolution not to do anything so mean as to ‘leap the twig.’.
[UK]R. Whiteing Mr Sprouts, His Opinions 18: I am goin’ to ’op the twig. I am slowly wastin’ away with ’unger.
[US]W.H. Thomes Bushrangers 365: He [...] said that he would splice me as soon as his old woman hopped the twig.
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 7 June 43/2: ‘P’raps he’s hopped the twig.’ These were the last words that reached the dying man’s ears.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Oct. 8/2: Often we’ve watched with the deepest regret / A topper his tanglefoot swig – / He may ‘twig the hops,’ but it’s wiser to bet / That the simpleton soon ‘hops the twig.’.
[UK]Globe (London) 6 Jan. 1/5: Other slangy folk talk [...] of hopping the twig.
[UK]Breton & Bevir Adventures of Mrs. May 20: You’ve generally got a bit of Insurance money to draw when they’ve ’opped the twig.
[US]L. Pound ‘American Euphemisms for Dying’ in AS XI:3 199: Hopped the twig.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 42: O babe, when thou hast been stashed / In thy deep six, and I will let thee hop a twig.
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 93: One of whom was actually giving Brendan the kiss of life when he jumped the twig.

In phrases