Compound of clod + hopper (agentive form of the verb hop). Perhaps affected by analogy with grasshopper. Attested in the sense of "peasant" since the seventeenth century; the extended sense of "boot" or "shoe" dates from the nineteenth century.
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈklɑdˌhɑpɚ/
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈklɒdˌhɒpə/
Audio (US) (file)
clodhopper (plural clodhoppers)
- A strong shoe for heavy-duty use, a boot.
- 1830, Margaret Hundy, “First Epistle from Mrs. Margaret Hundy”, in The Lady's Magazine:
- ...who had got on his "hill shoes," as he calls a pair of clodhoppers as thick as a ploughman's, and stuck round with nails.
- (US) Any kind of shoe.
- 1959, Claude F. Koch, A Matter of Family:
- We had to walk slow because of his wooden clod-hoppers, and that was the way I wanted it now
- (military slang) United States Navy ankle length work shoes, distinct from dress shoes or combat boots.
- 1943 August 16, “Senators go global: Five will fly to all fronts”, in LIFE Magazine:
- Smiling Jim Mead of New York tries on his GI clodhopper boots. He decided to return them "because we couldn't make any altitude with those aboard."
- A peasant or yokel.
- 1719, René Le Bossu, translated by Pierre François le Courayer and Peter Anthony Motteux, Monsieur Bossu's Treatise of the Epick Poem, J. Knapton and H. Clements, →OCLC, page 332:
- […] now a book is no greater rarity than bacon and greens in Virginia; and the clodhopper of this country returns from his daily labours to a book […]
- 1869, Richard Doddridge Blackmore, “ch. 14”, in Lorna Doone:
- 'Nephew Jack,' he cried, looking at me when I was thinking what to say, and finding only emptiness, 'you are a heavy lout, sir; a bumpkin, a clodhopper; and I shall leave you nothing, unless it be my boots to grease.'
- (UK) A clumsy or foolish person.
- 1826 August, P.H. Clias, “Gymnastics”, in Blackwood's Magazine, volume XX, number CXV:
- All guess-work exploits shrivel up a good yard, or sometimes two, when brought to the measure, and the champion of the county dwindles into a clumsy clod-hopper.
- Wheatear; any of various passerine birds.
- 1834, Robert Mudie, The Feathered Tribes of the British Islands, volume 1:
- ...and as the birds then begin to resort to the downs and open commons, the "fallow-chat," "wheat-ear," and "clodhopper," are not unappropriate names.