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Paul Brewster   Link to this

Wheatley note: "Luke Cheynell, a hop merchant, is mentioned not very respectfully in "Select City Quæries, Mercurius Philalethes," Part I. London, 1660. This may be the same person."

L&M agree with this assessment but go on to say that "a hop-merchant" was a cant phrase that lasted into the 19th century.

OED: hop merchant
2. slang. [with play on hop n.2] A dancing-master; a dancer.
a1700 B. E. Dict. Cant. Crew, Hop-Merchant, a Dancing-master. 1708 Motteux Rabelais ... Imitated by your Hop-Merchants in their Country Dances.

I had thought that the use of "hop" for a dance was a more recent and primarily American invention.

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  • 1660