Jump through hoops

Posted by Shae on May 14, 2003

In Reply to: Jump through hoops posted by ESC on May 14, 2003

: : Could some one tell me what the origin of the phrase "jumping through hoops" is?
: : Thanks,
: : Penny

: I looked in several references and couldn't find this common phrase. I am guessing that it refers to a circus act where lions and tigers
: are made to jump through hoops.

Julia Cresswell's Penguin Dictionary of Clichés has:

JUMPING THROUGH HOOPS: The image here is of performing animals doing tricks. Such an act is first recorded in English in the late eighteenth century, but the expression used to describe having to do something difficult or complicated to get what you want is from the early twentieth century.
'I'd dearly like to see a time-budgeting study of British academics. I bet it would show that most now spend more time filling in forms, jumping through hoops, and generally dodging the slings and arrows of outrageous quangos, than in actually doing their jobs,' (Independent, 23 July 1998)