come a-cropper

come a-cropper

To fail badly. “Cropper” comes from a horse's croup or crupper, the part of the animal's back behind the saddle. Someone who parted company from his horse (an involuntary dismount, so to speak) was said to fall “neck and crop.” That became “come a-cropper,” first appearing in the foxhunting author Robert S. Surtees' 1858 novel Ask Mamma: [He] “rode at an impracticable fence, and got a cropper for his pains.” The phrase was picked up and applied to any misadventure, equestrian or otherwise.
See also: come
References in periodicals archive ?
If they get past the quarterfinals, they will be a serious danger to any team but could come a-cropper against Armagh in the semis.
I'm always running in heels and I come a-cropper all the time, falling over wires and all sorts, but I've never fallen on the live show, thank God.
Just as an unhealthy obsession with wanting to see a colleague or neighbour come a-cropper lays bare our own insecurities and paranoia, the pathological anti-English anger simmering in the breasts of some of our compatriots is an unhealthy sign.
Janet Betts, of Latchingdon, Essex - mum of Ecstasy victim Leah Betts, 18 - said: "It makes me think things like `I wish these pop stars could come a-cropper.