What does "hoop" mean in

Had a mac for a short while and as a development machine I didn't like it. Keyboard was awful, tooling wasn't right. Too many hoops. Just got the x1 now, and it's hands down amazing machine.

The dictionary shows that hoop is some circular object, which doesn't make sense here. Thanks.


1 Answer 1


Hoop here is a reference to the idiom jumping through hoops, which OALD defines as

to do something difficult or complicated in order to achieve something

The Online Etymology Dictionary dates the expression to at least 1917, deriving from the idea of someone jumping through hoops on horseback as a circus trick, from around 1793. The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms similarly attributes it from the early 20th century, alluding to trained circus animals jumping through hoops.

Thus, a hoop in this sense is a difficulty or obstacle— a hurdle.

  • Jumping through hoops does not imply that the obstacle is meaningless, only that the entire collection of obstacles is exacting and takes a good deal of effort. Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 3:05
  • @WhatRoughBeast Meaningless is perhaps strong, but there is a strong connotation that the steps are there mainly to satisfy bureaucracy or enforce exclusivity. You don't jump through hoops to become a billionaire, though that is an arduous process with many intermediate steps. But you do jump through hoops to get a building permit for your money bin.
    – choster
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 3:15
  • Is the deciding factor that the hoops are there because someone else put them there? I think that when you are jumping through hoops, you are specifically performing actions which may serve someone else's purposes but provide no direct benefit in achieving your own.
    – SusanW
    Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 23:29

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