Jump Through Hoops

Meaning Of Idiom ‘Jump Through Hoops’

To jump through hoops means to do just about anyone to please someone or to achieve an objective; to have to go through a very elaborate and complicated set of steps to get what you want; to do a lot of different things that seem overly difficult and unnecessary in order to achieve something; to satisfy demanding bureaucratic requirements or ‘red tape.’ 1Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.,2Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,3Bengelsdorf, Peter. Idioms in the News – 1,000 Phrases, Real Examples. N.p.: Amz Digital Services, 2012.,4Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,5Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.,6Definition of jump through hoops from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


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Usage Notes

To jump through hoops is similar to the idiom to bend over backwards, except bending over backwards doesn’t have the connotation of being required or forced to do something. It means to do everything possible or to exert maximum effort, especially to help someone or be nice or considerate to someone.

Examples Of Use

“It is not true that people on unemployment don’t want to work. Most people will jump through hoops to get a job.”

“The great thing about the stimulus money is that you don’t have to jump through any hoops to get it. It was just automatically deposited in my bank account.”

“You have to jump through so many hoops to sell a house. I can’t understand most of what I’m signing!”

“He expects me to jump through hoops to please him. I’m done trying to satisfy his ridiculous demands!”

“My mother needs to be admitted to the hospital. We shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to make that happen!”

Origin

Used since the early 1900s.

This idiom alludes to trained circus animals jumping through actual hoops during a circus performance. 7Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,8Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.

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