come a mucker/cropper (Brit)


Senior Member
Persian - 𐎱𐎾𐎿𐎡

I like old Jimmy boy and I wouldn't want to see him come a mucker.

Has anyone ever heard the phrase "come a mucker" being used along the lines of "come a cropper" in BrE?
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I know "to come a cropper", which is old-fashioned, but not "come a mucker".

    The OED states of the word "mucker", in this sense,
    This word belongs in Frequency Band 2. Band 2 contains words which occur fewer than 0.01 times per million words in typical modern English usage. These are almost exclusively terms which are not part of normal discourse and would be unknown to most people.
    ... and I agree.

    I suspect the commonest use of "mucker" in BE is:
    d. British (originally Military). A close companion or friend; a person with whom one regularly socializes or teams up (cf. to muck in at muck v.1 Phrasal verbs). Frequently as a form of address.

    1947 J. Bertram Shadow of War vii. v. 239 What's the griff, mucker?

    1998 Smash Hits 22 May 16/1 Pete's also looking forward to the World Music Awards in Monaco on May 6, where he'll get to hook up with his old Aussie mucker Kylie.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Just to add to Paul's comments about the OED:

    The two most recent OED citations for "mucker" in this sense date from 1928 and 1974; and the 1974 one* comes from a novel written by an author (Gladys Mitchell) born in 1901.

    So it may have been popular in the past - but if it was, it's intriguing that none of us have ever heard of it.

    Is your extract from your "English Idioms in Use" book, Shandol? How old is the book?

    * mentioned in post 1: I like old Jimmy boy and I wouldn't want to see him come a mucker.


    Senior Member
    Persian - 𐎱𐎾𐎿𐎡
    Is your extract from your "English Idioms in Use" book, Shandol? How old is the book?
    Stone the Crows: Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang - Second Edition - Written by John Ayto & John Simpson

    The second edition was published in 2008.

    I read the book from time to time just to add a bit of variety to my passive vocabulary.

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    It's used in [at least] the TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited. See earlier thread:

    to come a cropper
    Brideshead Revisited was written and set a long time before I was born. Even the television series is something like forty years old.

    I might use "come a cropper", but I do think it is old-fashioned, and rather quaint. In the specific use in Brideshead Revisited asked about in the other thread, Charles Ryder's father chose the word precisely because it was a quaint British expression, as part of an elaborate joke. In the book, the narrator Charles calls the word "bizarre".


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I hear "comes a cropper" now and then in the U.S. but definitely not on a regular basis. I probably have never used it myself in an original sentence.

    It probably goes without saying that I have never heard mucker.