E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A nix, the same as the German daumling, the French le petit pouce, and the Scotch Tom-a-lin (or Tamlane). Tom Thumb in the well-known nursery tale is quite another character. He was the son of peasants, knighted by King Arthur, and killed by a spider.
Several dwarfs have assumed the name of Tom Thumb. (See DWARFS.)
You Stump-o-the-Gutter, you Hop-o-my-Thumb,
Your husband must from Lilliput come.
Kane OHara: Midas.
Plaine friend, Hop-o-my-Thumb, know you who we are?Taming of the Shrew (1594).
To hop the twig. To run away from ones creditors, as a bird eludes a fowler, hopping from spray to spray.
Also to die. The same idea as that above. There are numerous phrases to express the cessation of life; for example, To kick the bucket (q.v.); To lay down ones knife and fork; Pegging out (from the game of cribbage); To be snuffed out (like a candle); He has given in; To throw up the sponge (q.v.); To fall asleep; To enter Charons boat (See CHARON); To join the majority; To cave in; a common Scripture phrase is To give up the ghost.