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to jump through hoops


Click below to listen to the phrase.

Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) to try hard to finish work

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b) to try hard to please someone

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To jump through hoops means to be willing to go to extremes to please someone, usually in order to achieve a desired result in a usually standardised procedure.

This expression is said to have been first used in the 1900s, and allegedly comes from circus animals jumping through physical hoops.

French translation

faire des pieds et des mains, se mettre en quatre

How NOT to translate : *sauter à travers des cerceaux

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Examples in context

‘These ’onerous’ rules are why cabbies are losing the battle against Uber

Uber believes ’the answer is to reduce the onerous regulations cabbies face today – not increase them for everyone else.’ Here are the hoops you have to jump through to be a black taxi driver

Becoming a black taxi driver can be a costly endeavour. The process includes an £80 application fee, £200 for the written assessment, £400 for the oral interviews, up to £112 for the driving test and £192 for the licence fee itself. The driver must also undergo "good character" tests, essentially a high-level criminal records check that costs roughly £60, and a medical examination.’

The Telegraph, 28 September 2015

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‘Simon Brown on covenant : ’I have had to jump through hoops

Simon Brown, a corporal in the Army for more than 10 years, was shot in the face by a sniper in 2006 and was medically discharged four years later.

He told the BBC that he had to "jump through hoops" to get free plastic surgery. He praised surgeons and other medical staff but said that the "system has had issues with regard to covenant".’

BBC News, 29 October 2014

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Everyday usage

I cannot believe how many hoops I’ve had to jump through to change my name on my birth certificate. It’s ridiculous !

We want the interview to be challenging. They should have to jump through hoops to get this job.

I finally have my bank account. I had to jump through a few hoops, but it was worth it.

c) to try hard to be the best

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