late 12c., "circular band, flattened ring," probably from an unrecorded Old English *hop, from Proto-Germanic *hōp (source also of Old Frisian hop "a hoop, band," Middle Dutch and Dutch hoep "hoop," Old Norse hop "a small bay"). The original meaning must have been "curve; ring," but the IE etymology is uncertain.
As a child's plaything by 1792. In basketball from 1893. As something someone jumps through (on horseback) as a circus trick, by 1793; figurative use of jump through hoops is by 1917. As "circular band serving to expand the skirt of a woman's dress" from 1540s. They have been in and out of style over the centuries. Hoop-petticoat (one stiffened or expanded by hoops of ratan, whalebone, etc,) is attested from 1711; hoop-skirt in the same sense is from 1856, figurative of old-fashioned ways by 1893, when there was a general alarm at their rumored return to fashion. The U.S. Southern hoop snake (1784) is fabled to take its tail in its mouth and roll along like a hoop. Related: Hoops.