Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A person who works land in return for a share of the yield; a sharecropper.
  • n. A heavy fall; a tumble.
  • n. A disastrous failure; a fiasco.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a fall, a tumble; see come a cropper
  • n. a breed of domestic pigeon with large crop
  • n. a person who nurtures and gathers a crop
  • n. a variety of plant producing a good harvest
  • n. A machine for cropping, as for shearing off bolts or rod iron, or for facing cloth.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One that crops.
  • n. A variety of pigeon with a large crop; a pouter.
  • n. A machine for cropping, as for shearing off bolts or rod iron, or for facing cloth.
  • n. A fall on one's head when riding at full speed, as in hunting; hence, a sudden failure or collapse.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A breed of pigeons with a large crop. See pouter.
  • n. A machine for facing cloth.
  • n. A powerful hand-tool for cutting off bolts or iron rods.
  • n. A plant which furnishes a crop: qualified by large or small, heavy or light, etc.
  • n. One who raises a crop or crops on shares; one who cultivates land for its owner in consideration of part of the crop.
  • n. A fall, as from horseback; especially, a fall in which the rider is thrown neck and crop over the horse's head; hence, failure in an undertaking.
  • n. A small bed-and-platen printing-press invented by George P. Gordon (1858) of New York, but named from the machinist (H. S. Cropper) who introduced it into Great Britain.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. small farmers and tenants

Etymologies

Perhaps from the phrase neck and crop, completely.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
a bird's crop (Wiktionary)
an agricultural crop (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • A printing press, a pigeon, a farmer, a fall from a horse. You pick.

    November 22, 2011

  • his delusions and the croppers they cost him -- Edmund Wilson
    to see their betters come a cropper -- Tyrone Guthrie

    January 2, 2007