- Most likely it is a metaphorical extension of the verb ‘to pop’ meaning ‘to go, come, or appear suddenly.’ This verbal sense of ‘pop’ is often used in conjunction with the adverb ‘up’ and embedded within the semantic domain of ‘pop’ appears to be the concept of upward direction. Thus, the idea of ‘popping upward’ probably was extended through metaphor to the idea of ‘popping upward or spiking with energy, having a party-like atmosphere.’ It should also be noted that the word ‘popping’ in its new sense is an adjective, but is derived from the verb ‘to pop.’
adjective; other word formation type
having the qualities and energy of a fun party, often having a large crowd and good music and dancing
Etymology : ‘Pop’ is of uncertain origin, but it possibly has an onomatopoeic origin. ‘Pop,’ meaning ‘to appear suddenly’ is attested from 1595. The morpheme ‘-ing’ is an inflectional suffix marking the progressive verb form.
Source : ‘This party is not popping. I think I’m about to leave.’ (conversation with a friend, September 2008)
Last modified: 5 December 2008