caper

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cut capers

Also, cut a caper. Frolic or romp, as in The children cut capers in the pile of raked leaves. The noun caper comes from the Latin for "goat," and the allusion is to act in the manner of a young goat clumsily frolicking about. The expression was first recorded in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (1:3): "Faith, I can cut a caper."
See also: caper, cut

caper

(ˈkepɚ)
1. n. any stunt or event; a trick or a scam. That little caper the kids did with the statue from the town square was a dandy.
2. n. a criminal job: theft, kidnapping, blackmail, etc. (Underworld.) The black and whites pulled up right in the middle of the caper.
References in classic literature ?
But the countryman seized his fiddle, and struck up a tune, and at the first note judge, clerks, and jailer were in motion; all began capering, and no one could hold the miser.
The little girl at once stopped capering and planted herself squarely in front of me.
Yet, as he began to think steadily, the very blackness of his cell seemed to make his thoughts more vivid; he began to see as in a kind of vision the fantastic feet capering along the corridor in unnatural or symbolic attitudes.
He asked Dorcas some question about a bell, and appeared so delighted with her answer that he is capering about as you see
On the second day of her hunting, as she was returning from the chase, and was arrived within a little distance from Mr Western's house, her horse, whose mettlesome spirit required a better rider, fell suddenly to prancing and capering in such a manner that she was in the most imminent peril of falling.
said Rawdon, wondering at the little figure capering about in a streaming flannel dressing-gown, with tawny locks dishevelled.
It was only later, when upon the white flash of another high sea hurling itself amidships, Jukes had a vision of two pairs of davits leaping black and empty out of the solid blackness, with one overhauled fall flying and an iron-bound block capering in the air, that he became aware of what had happened within about three yards of his back.
pointing to our old habitation, and fell dancing and capering like a mad fellow; and I had much ado to keep him from jumping into the sea to swim ashore to the place.
The moment he lays his hand upon the latch, the pony neighs the loudest pony's greeting; before he has crossed the threshold, the pony is capering about his loose box (for he brooks not the indignity of a halter), mad to give him welcome; and when Kit goes up to caress and pat him, the pony rubs his nose against his coat, and fondles him more lovingly than ever pony fondled man.