crop (noun, verb) /krɑp/ LISTEN
A crop is a plant or its product, either while growing or when gathered, or the amount of yield produced in one season. It’s used figuratively to mean ‘a group of people or things that occur together.’ Crop is also a close or short cut of something, such as hair. As a verb, to crop means ‘to cut off the top of a plant’ or ‘to cut part of something off.’ To crop also means ‘to cut hair short’ or ‘to graze.’
- The farmer is looking at his wheat crop in the field.
- This year's apple crop is the best we've ever had.
- The firm had a good crop of candidates apply for the job.
- Jane used to have long hair, but now she wears it in an attractive crop.
- If you crop those plants, they will grow thicker and bushier.
- Some breeds of dog sometimes have their ears cropped.
- Mick asked the hairdresser to crop his hair really short.
- The cows are cropping the grass in the meadow.
Words often used with crop
crop up: occur unexpectedly. Example: “I’m sorry, I can’t make it to the meeting after all. Something has cropped up.”
In pop culture
Related to the meaning of cutting part of something off, crop is also a word used in photo editing, to mean ‘to cut part of a picture.’ Example: “That’s a lovely picture of the scenery, but the old rusty car on the edge of the photo spoils it. Can you crop that out?”
The noun crop can also be used as an adjective when talking about clothing, normally tops, that are shorter than normal. Example: “Wearing a crop top means you can show off how toned your abdomen is.” You can see a crop top in this commercial.
Did you know?
A word that is often, but not always, interchangeable with crop, when talking about plants, is harvest. Harvest can be used to talk about the amount of yield of something in a year and about the gathered produce or the plants when ripe to be gathered. However, harvest does not refer to plants while they are in the process of growing. Unlike crop, harvest can also be used to talk about the period of the year when plants or their produce are gathered.
Crop dates back to before the year 900. The Old English cropp and Middle English crop originally meant “bird’s craw’ as well as the ‘top or head of a sprout or herb.’ The meaning soon expanded to mean the top of any plant, including the crown of a tree, and later came to mean the part of the plant we eat. The meaning of ‘harvest product’ dates back to around the year 1300. It is related to the German noun Kropf. The verb, meaning to ‘cut off the top of a plant,’ comes from the noun, and dates back to the early 13th century. Its more general meaning, ‘to cut off,’ is from the 15th century.