Definition of hopscotch in US English:



  • A children's game in which each child by turn hops into and over squares marked on the ground to retrieve a marker thrown into one of these squares.

    • ‘The idea is to run around doing the sort of stuff you used to see in the playground - hopscotch, tag and leapfrog.’
    • ‘Most children's and grown-ups' games are highly competitive, whether it is Monopoly, snap, snakes and ladders, chess or hopscotch.’
    • ‘So much of one's life is graphed out with determining patterns, and one can't really treat the squares like hopscotch.’
    • ‘The purpose of this event - which involved another 50 children - was to see if they would still play traditional street games like hopscotch in the absence of cars and traffic.’
    • ‘In one of the vast, anonymous, carpeted, windowless suites that pepper every large hotel in the USA, about fifty people from the same company were engaged in collective hopscotch, frisbee and kickball.’
    • ‘Outdoor games like marbles, jacks, hopscotch not only occupy your kids, they will also strengthen coordination skills.’
    • ‘All the girls were engaged in games of jump rope and hopscotch.’
    • ‘I stay away from caffeine, sugar, cold medicine, and fast food and my favorite game is hopscotch.’
    • ‘She kept herself busy playing whip a top, hoopla, marbles, hopscotch, hide and seek and oranges and lemons.’
    • ‘From improvised reality-television games at one end to traditional hopscotch at the other, the anarchic chaos of the playground turns out, on closer inspection, to be a seething but curiously ordered grid of self-devised distractions.’
    • ‘If it's raining lightly, go out for a game of mud-puddle hopscotch.’
    • ‘Play time will start to involve games with rules such as hopscotch, bat and ball games, and simple board games as your child reaches six and seven years.’
    • ‘As a youngster I would run screaming if any of my playmates were sick after eating too much ice-cream before a particularly vigorous game of hopscotch.’
    • ‘Besides, even if they were allowed to muck in with the next-door neighbours' kids, how many 10-year-olds these days would opt for hopscotch over Playstation?’
    • ‘Children play hide-and-seek, hopscotch, round dances, and marbles.’
    • ‘These include skipping rope, racing, swimming, playing catch, dodgeball, and hopscotch.’
    • ‘The road is covered in chalk drawings: hopscotch and football pitches, pictograms of dolls and soldiers, houses, cars ships.’
    • ‘In fact, games like five stones are excellent for developing reflexes while a game like Paandi or hopscotch inculcates a sense of balance.’
    • ‘Children enjoy playing games such as hopscotch and hide-and-seek.’
    • ‘They need to ride their bikes and play hopscotch or just sit around with a few buddies playing video games or watching movies.’


North American
  • no object, with adverbial of direction Skip from place to place; move erratically.

    ‘the blackouts hopscotched around eight Western states’
    ‘he hopscotched from Indonesia to Hong Kong to Australia to Japan’
    • ‘You'll notice that since yesterday, the heliborne troops of the 101AB have moved far north of yesterday's position, hopscotching in their helicopters from one base to the next.’
    • ‘To me it seems very calculated to try to hopscotch from one car to the next to the next, so nobody would know what car you're in.’
    • ‘After hopscotching from event to event in Nashua I found a T-Mobile hotspot at a Borders Books in town and jotted down the events in the post below.’
    • ‘The disease is not progressive, but it hopscotches around Hughes' life in a way that keeps squeezing all the drama out just as it's building to a crescendo.’
    • ‘Now my mother hopscotches between acceptance and warnings of eternal damnation.’
    • ‘The story hopscotched over to Bernard Weinraub, who covers Hollywood for The New York Times.’
    • ‘Developments are hopscotching out to the cheapest land.’
    • ‘Moore's Oscar-winning Bowling for Columbine hopscotched across explanations for the American habit of violence without investigating any one of them in meaningful depth.’
    • ‘During the interview, the former governor of Vermont appeared at ease handling questions that hopscotched across global trouble spots.’
    • ‘It's becoming the essential competitive edge: the ability to hopscotch the globe, switching countries, cultures, and languages as easily as the rest of us change clothes.’
    • ‘Rick Perry hopscotched across Texas on Wednesday to sign ceremonial copies of a new workers' compensation bill.’
    • ‘Another crop of insurers chose to hopscotch past the Caribbean and locate here.’
    • ‘It's about hope,’ he said testily this weekend as he hopscotched from the heartland to Dixie to California in pursuit of caucus votes and contributions.’
    • ‘They stood looking at each other until one boy stuck out his arms for balance and hopscotched in gaps between the stones from one side to another like a broken-field runner.’
    • ‘Not even the chickadees chattering and hopscotching in the shrubs at our yard's edge can break my mood.’
    • ‘Solid Gold Hits knowingly hopscotches from era to era.’
    • ‘But these diseases are also global: SARS hopscotched the world via transcontinental flights.’
    • ‘In 1956 King began an oratorical marathon that lasted over twelve years, attacking segregation in approximately two thousand speeches and sermons as he hopscotched the nation.’
    • ‘He hopscotched through different industries - accounting, consulting, and airlines - before landing in fast food.’
    • ‘And even when the songs hopscotched over musical logic, they scanned, because - analysis fails here - they sounded so gorgeous.’


Early 19th century: from hop + scotch.