What's the meaning of "pop on a plane"?

In the context "did you pop on a plane for an hour?" I looked it up on idioms and other sites but I got nowhere. Does it mean "did you stay/travel in/with the plane for an hour"?

  • Something like that. You can look up the verb in a dictionary such as this one. – user3395 Jun 8 '17 at 11:12

It means "to get on a plane". In general, "pop" means to enter a place, whether a building or a vehicle, usually for a short amount of time. "I'm going to pop into the hardware store and see if they have nails", "Oh, Jack popped into the office and picked up some papers", "I'm going to pop on a bus and head right over", etc. You don't use it if your stay will be long. Like if you go into a store, buy one item, and leave, you might say "I popped into the store". But if you go into a store and spend two hours shopping around, you wouldn't say you "popped into the store". (Except as an ironic joke, I suppose.) To "pop on a plane" implies that it's a short flight. You wouldn't say "I popped on a plane from New York to Beijing", but you could say "I popped on a plane from New York to Boston".

  • 3
    In my experience (perhaps specifically BrE) OP's specific preposition on isn't used so often with idiomatic pop in this sense. I'd be more likely to hop on a plane/bus (perhaps in order to pop over to some relatively nearby place with an airport). – FumbleFingers Jun 8 '17 at 14:59
  • +1. hop is normal, as FF says. But analogical uses are not uncommon. I think we can agree that a plane you pop on is not a transoceanic flight, except facetiously. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 8 '17 at 19:47
  • A case where "pop" refers to shopping for several hours: Wife: "Where have you been? You've been gone for hours!" Husband: "Oh, I popped into the hardware store." :-) – fixer1234 Jun 9 '17 at 2:19
  • @fixer1234 That usage is almost surely intended as a joke. – Jay Jun 9 '17 at 4:42
  • Did the smiley face give it away? In my joke example, the husband uses "pop" to recharacterize a several hour trip as a quickie. So it would technically be another exception to your "wouldn't say" example ("spin" in addition to ironic joke), but it would be consistent with the meaning you describe. (I upvoted your answer before adding the comment, it just occurred to me as a humorous exception.) – fixer1234 Jun 9 '17 at 4:59

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