Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hop n.4

[hop v.1 ]

In phrases

on the hop

1. running away, escaping, on the run; thus fig. unawares.

[UK]‘Letter from a Highwayman’ in Morn. Post 13 Dec. 4/3: If it had not been for that d—’d Newcastle trap, we might still have been on the hop with you.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the Elections’ in Punch 12 Dec. 277/2: And them Rads ’aven’t ’ad a look in, Sir. We’ve landed ’em fair on the ’op.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Winning the Rubber’ Sporting Times 25 Jan. 1/3: The motorist, grinning a venomous grin / At thus catching both birds on the hop.
[UK]Z. Smith White Teeth 16: We have caught him on the hop.

2. busy, active.

[NZ]N.Z. Thames Star 23 July 4/3: The general here is a pure Napoleon [...] ‘always on the hop’ .

3. (Irish) truanting.

[UK](con. 1970s) G. Byrne Pictures in my Head 67: ‘Haven’t seen you at lectures for eons.’ ‘He was on the hop,’ said Pat.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. [Internet] Hop, on the (n): bunk school, playing truant.
play the hop (v.) (also go on the hop) [hop the wag under hop v.1 ]

1. to run around from place to place.

[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 3 Feb. 3/2: And therefore he had gone on the grand hop and got the cash.

2. to play truant from school.

[UK]Taunton Courier 25 Sept. n.p.: ‘To play the hop’ is, perhaps, the most usual, whilst to ‘play the wag’ and to ‘play the Charley’ are frequently used.
[UK] (con. 1950s) R. Barnes Coronation Cups and Jam Jars 132: I used to play the hop more times than a flea on a dog’s arse. I hated school and my asthma was a good excuse to stay away.
[UK](con. 1930s) M. Verdon Shawlies, Echo Boys, the Marsh and the Lanes 100: When I used to go to school, I was a wild character. I used to go on the hop. Wouldn’t go to school at all.
[UK]G. O’Neill (con. 1950s) My East End 87: And it was harder for kids to play the hop. If one of your ‘aunties’ saw you hanging about when you should have been at school they wouldn’t look the other way.
take it on the hop (v.) (also take it on the arches)

(US) to run away; to escape.

[US](con. 1950s) McAleer & Dickson Unit Pride (1981) 272: ‘Take it on the hop, creeps,’ she said. ‘We wouldn’t be seen dead with soldiers.’.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 52: Take it on the hop, man. I don’t wanna hear that shit.
[US]M. Agar Ripping and Running 164: Take It on The Archessplit (Leave).
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 80: Lily ain’t gonna take it on the hop, runnin’ cross-country, robbin’ and stealin’.