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A grasshopper (1).
A grasshopper cocktail (2).



From Middle English grashoppere, alteration of earlier grashoppe, from Old English græshoppa (grasshopper). Equivalent to grass +‎ hopper.

Cognate with Saterland Frisian Gäärshupper, Dutch grashupper, grashipper, German Low German Grashüpper, Gresshüpper, German Grashüpfer, Danish græshoppe, Swedish gräshoppa, Norwegian gresshoppe.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɡɹɑːsˌhɒpə(ɹ)/, /ɡɹæsˌhɒpə(ɹ)/
  • Audio (UK):(file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɡɹæsˌhɑpəɹ/
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Hyphenation: grass‧hop‧per



grasshopper (plural grasshoppers)

  1. A mostly herbivorous insect of the order Orthoptera, noted for its ability to jump long distances and for the habit of some species communicating by stridulation; they are related to but distinct from crickets.
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XVI, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume I, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 168:
      Even in my happiest moments, while the grass was crowded with flowers beneath me—the sweet monotony of the running water in mine ear, only broken by the cheerful chant of the grasshopper—the boughs of the chestnut, filled with sunshine, dazzling my eyes, till the golden air seemed thronged with lovely shapes,—even then came pale and mournful shadows, whose white faces looked upon me pityingly.
    Synonym: (rare) grasshop
    Hyponym: locust
    1. In the strict sense, refers to insects in the suborder Caelifera, particularly those in the family Acrididae.
    2. In a looser sense, also includes the katydids (also known as longhorned grasshoppers or bush crickets), which are members of the family Tettigoniidae, of the suborder Ensifera.
  2. A cocktail made with crème de menthe and optionally with crème de cacao.
    • 1979 April 21, Greg Jackson, “He Looks Like Tarzan But He Talks Like Jane”, in Gay Community News, page 17:
      Does he order Scotch-on-the-rocks in a low, mean voice? No? A Bud? No? A grasshopper, heavy on the creme de menthe? Right!
  3. (figuratively) A young student in initial stages of training who has been chosen on account of their obvious talent.
    • 2009, B.P. Terpstra, Quadrant, November 2009, No. 461 (Volume LIII, Number 11), Quadrant Magazine Limited, page 2:
      Although we don't know exactly why Li is chosen to dance, we witness a man assuring officials that the child isn't from bourgeois stock. Phew. There are no known landowners in the family, so the grasshopper passes some cultural purity test, in a state often fixated on class warfare, driven by the cult of personality, and bullied by paranoia.
  4. (music) In ordinary square or upright pianos of London make, the escapement lever or jack, so made that it can be taken out and replaced with the key.
    Synonym: hopper
    • 1894, “Pianoforte”, in Encyclopædia_Britannica:
      John Geib [] patented the hopper with two separate escapements, one of which soon became adopted in the grasshopper of the square piano

Derived terms




Further reading