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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English crop, croppe, from Old English crop, cropp, croppa (the head or top of a plant, a sprout or herb, a bunch or cluster of flowers, an ear of corn, the craw of a bird, a kidney), from Proto-West Germanic *kropp, from Proto-Germanic *kruppaz (body, trunk, crop), from Proto-Indo-European *grewb- (to warp, bend, crawl). Cognate with Dutch krop (crop), German Low German Kropp (a swelling on the neck, the craw, maw), German Kropf (the craw, ear of grain, head of lettuce or cabbage), Swedish kropp (body, trunk), Icelandic kroppur (a hunch on the body). Related to crap, doublet of group and croup.


crop (plural crops)

  1. (agriculture) A plant, especially a cereal, grown to be harvested as food, livestock fodder, or fuel or for any other economic purpose.
    The farmer had a nice crop of corn.
  2. The natural production for a specific year, particularly of plants.
    It was a good crop of oats that year.
  3. A group, cluster or collection of things occurring at the same time.
    The decade produced a whole crop of ideas about space travel.
    The university had an exceptional crop of graduates in 1892, including three who went on to win Nobel Prizes.
  4. A group of vesicles at the same stage of development in a disease.
    The patient had a crop of bumps indicative of chicken pox.
  5. The lashing end of a whip.
  6. An entire short whip, especially as used in horse-riding; a riding crop.
  7. A rocky outcrop.
  8. The act of cropping.
  9. A photograph or other image that has been reduced by removing the outer parts.
    • 1924, Groesbeck Jr., Harry Appleton, “Preparation of Copy”, in The Process and Practice of Photo-engraving[1], Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, OCLC 2053236, Indicating Sizes, page 234:
      This indicates to the engraver that the subject may be cropped to yield the size desired, but it is advisable that the position for the crop also be determined and marked, else some essential feature of the copy may be cut off by arbitrary cropping to get the required size.
  10. A short haircut.
    She went from a ponytail to a crop.
  11. (anatomy) A pouch-like part of the alimentary tract of some birds (and some other animals), used to store food before digestion or for regurgitation; a craw.
    • XIX c., George MacDonald, The Early Bird:
      A little bird sat on the edge of her nest;
      Her yellow-beaks slept as sound as tops;
      Day-long she had worked almost without rest,
      And had filled every one of their gibbous crops;
    • 1892, Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle", 2005 Norton edition, page 221:
      The bird gave a gulp, and I felt the stone pass along its gullet and down into its crop.
    • 2015, Elizabeth Royte, Vultures Are Revolting. Here’s Why We Need to Save Them., National Geographic (December 2015)[2]
      As the wildebeest shrinks, the circle of sated birds lounging in the short grass expands. With bulging crops, the vultures settle their heads atop folded wings and slide their nictitating membranes shut.
  12. (architecture) The foliate part of a finial.
  13. (archaic or dialect) The head of a flower, especially when picked; an ear of corn; the top branches of a tree.
  14. (mining) Tin ore prepared for smelting.
  15. (mining) An outcrop of a vein or seam at the surface[1].
  16. An entire oxhide.
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Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English croppen (to cut, pluck and eat), from Old English *croppian. Cognate with Scots crap (to crop), Dutch kroppen (to cram, digest), Low German kröppen (to cut, crop, stuff the craw), German kröpfen (to crop), Icelandic kroppa (to cut, crop, pick). Literally, to take off the crop (top, head, ear) of a plant. See Etymology 1.


crop (third-person singular simple present crops, present participle cropping, simple past and past participle cropped)

  1. (transitive) To remove the top end of something, especially a plant.
  2. (transitive) To mow, reap or gather.
  3. (transitive) To cut (especially hair or an animal's tail or ears) short.
  4. (transitive) To remove the outer parts of a photograph or other image, typically in order to frame the subject better.
    • 1924, Groesbeck Jr., Harry Appleton, “Preparation of Copy”, in The Process and Practice of Photo-engraving[3], Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, OCLC 2053236, Indicating Sizes, page 234:
      Reduce to six inches wide and crop to eight inches high.
    • 1944 July, “WHAT ARE: Name These Enlarged Pictures”, in Popular Science[4], volume 145, number 1, ISSN 0161-7370, page 168:
      You'll see that when you enlarge a subject to many times its normal size, and then crop the photo so there is nothing in proportion to be recognized, all resemblance to the original can be hidden.
    • 1964, Taylor Jr., Proctor P., “Photographs”, in Preparing Contractor Reports for NASA: Technical Illustrating (NASA Special Publications; 7008)‎[5], 2d edition, Scientific and Technical Information Division, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, published 1967, OCLC 81345, NASA SP-7008, page 18:
      Crop the photo for emphasis and composition.
  5. (intransitive) To yield harvest.
  6. (transitive) To cause to bear a crop.
    to crop a field
  7. (transitive) To beat with a crop, or riding-whip.
    • 2013, Mary Hart Perry, Seducing the Princess
      She cropped the horse into a comfortable canter and enjoyed the familiar rhythm and bounce of the horse's stride.
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See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1874, Edward H. Knight, American Mechanical Dictionary
  • crop at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • crop in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911