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See also: leap frog and leap-frog



Two women playing leapfrog (noun sense 1), photographed in 1937 by Sam Hood from the collection of the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

leap +‎ frog.



leapfrog (countable and uncountable, plural leapfrogs)

  1. (games) A game, often played by children, in which a player leaps like a frog over the back of another person who has stooped over. One variation of the game involves a number of people lining up in a row and bending over. The last person in the line then vaults forward over each of the others until he or she reaches the front of the line, whereupon he also bends over. The process is then repeated.
    • [1700, [Abel] Boyer, “POSTE”, in The Royal Dictionary Abridged. In Two Parts. I. French and English. II. English and French. Containing near Five Thousand Words More than any French and English Dictionary yet Extant, besides the Royal. To which is Added, the Accenting of All English Words, to Facilitate the Pronunciation of the English Tongue to Foreigners, part I, London: Printed for R. Clavel [et al.], OCLC 55722763:
      La Poſte (jeu d'Enfant) Skip-frog, or Leap-frog, a Boyiſh Play.]
    • 1864 September, Archibald Maclaren, “Girls’ Schools”, in David Masson, editor, Macmillan’s Magazine, volume X, number 59, London; Cambridge: Macmillan and Co., 16, Bedford Street, Covent Garden, page 414, column 1:
      Are they [female students] not, indeed, generally wanting in that power of healthy stimulation which, exerted at proper intervals and sustained for proper periods, at once develops the mental powers, and sends forth the young boy-student from his Greek construing and his Latin hexameters to his leap-frog and cricket, with a zeal and an energy which he will never feel again when the school-room door has finally closed on him?
    • 1876, E[lizabeth] Lynn Linton, “What Must Come”, in The Atonement of Leam Dundas, Philadelphia, Pa.: J. B. Lippincott & Co., OCLC 681994435, part V, page 91, column 1:
      Madame could read with native grace and commendable fluency, making nimble leapfrogs over the heads of the exceptionally hard passages, but Leam had to spell every third word, and then she made a mess of it.
  2. (chiefly Britain, law, usually attributive) The process by which a case is appealed or allowed to be appealed directly to a supreme court, bypassing an intermediate appellate court.
    • 2015, Scott Slorach; Judith Embley; Peter Goodchild; Catherine Shephard, “The Court System of England & Wales”, in Legal Systems & Skills, 2nd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 75:
      The Supreme Court can hear appeals direct from the High Court under the ‘leapfrog’ procedure. This procedure is reserved for matters certified by the Supreme Court to be of general public importance—the type of issue which would ultimately be appealed from the Court of Appeal in any event. There are normally a few of these direct appeals from the High Court each year.
    • 2017, Elisabetta Silvestri, “The Italian Supreme Court of Cassation: Of Misnomers and Unaccomplished Missions”, in Cornelius Hendrik (Remco) van Rhee and Yulin Fu, editors, Supreme Courts in Transition in China and the West: Adjudication at the Service of Public Goals (Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice; 59), Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature, DOI:10.1007/978-3-319-52344-6, →ISBN, ISSN 1534-6781, page 234:
      An appeal to the Court of Cassation can be filed against judgments issued on (first) appeal, which means judgments issued in general by a court of appeals, even though the Code provides for judgments issued by courts of first instance that can be reviewed by the Court of Cassation through a sort of ‘leapfrog’ appeal; []

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leapfrog (third-person singular simple present leapfrogs, present participle leapfrogging, simple past and past participle leapfrogged)

  1. (transitive) To jump over some obstacle, as in the game of leapfrog.
  2. (transitive) To overtake.
    This new product will leapfrog the competition.
    • 2011 January 12, Saj Chowdhury, “Blackpool 2 – 1 Liverpool”, in BBC Sport[1], archived from the original on 21 December 2016:
      Blackpool thus achieved their first double over Liverpool since the 1946–47 season but more significantly they leapfrogged their opponents in the table with a game in hand.
    • 2014, Robert William Collin, “The Role of Government: Renewable Energy Sources”, in Robin Morris Collin and Robert William Collin, editors, Energy Choices: How to Power the Future, volume 2 (Renewable Energy Resources), Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, ABC-CLIO, →ISBN, page 213:
      Technology is developing so quickly that it occasionally leapfrogs over earlier technologies. For example, many areas of Australia did not have telephone service because they did not have a grid or wire system to deliver the signals. However, when cell phone technology became implemented Australians quickly incorporated this technology and leapfrogged over the grid system telephone requirements.
    • 2015 March, Mons Kallentoft; Neil Smith, transl., Spring Remains: A Thriller, trade paperback edition, New York, N.Y.: Emily Bestler Books, Washington Square Press, →ISBN, page 137:
      There's rain in the air, maybe the spring is turning back into winter now. [] Where nature leapfrogs spring and goes straight to summer, letting everything skip childhood. Maybe to avoid the torments and vulnerability of youth?
  3. (intransitive) To progress.
    • 2015 March, Bruce Weber, “‘The Horse Doesn’t Think It’s a Real Cow’”, in Life is a Wheel: Memoirs of a Bike-riding Obituarist, Scribner paperback edition, New York, N.Y.: Scribner, Simon & Schuster, →ISBN, part 1, page 73:
      [W]hen we emerged refueled from an air-conditioned café about forty-five minutes later, the temperature had leapfrogged at least ten degrees.
  4. (transitive, chiefly Britain, law) Of a case: to appeal or allow to be appealed directly to a supreme court, bypassing an intermediate appellate court.
    • 2012, Lord Justice [Rupert] Jackson, editor, Civil Procedure, volume 1, London: Sweet & Maxwell, Thomson Reuters, →ISBN, paragraph 35.12.4, page 1097:
      In Jones v Kaney [2010] EWHC 61 (Q.B.) at first instance, the issue was whether the claimant's psychologist in a personal injury claim was negligent because in a joint written statement with the other side's expert, she had resiled from her diagnosis of PTSD without comment or amendment of her report, greatly damaging the claimant's case. The claimant sued in negligence, the judge was constrained by the authorities, but granted a certificate under s. 12 of the Administration of Justice Act 1960 to leapfrog the case to the Supreme Court.
  5. (transitive, military) To advance by engaging the enemy with one unit while another moves further forward.
    • 2012 December 4, James Genco, “Rosecrans Forges His Army”, in Into the Tornado of War: A History of the Twenty-First Michigan Infantry in the Civil War, Bloomington, Ind.: Abbott Press, →ISBN:
      In late November and early December, General [William] Rosecrans juggled his units in preparation for the upcoming drive against [Braxton] Bragg. Among the changes, Sill's brigade relinquished its position in the advance of the army as other units leap-frogged south to the head of the army.

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