"to run with long strides," early 15c.; earlier "to leap, jump, spring" (c. 1300), from Old Norse hlaupa "to run, leap, spring up," from Proto-Germanic *hlaupan "to leap" (see leap (v.)). Related: Loped; loping. A lope-staff (c. 1600) was a pole used for leaping over marshes and dikes in low country.
late 14c., "a jump, a leap," from lope (v.). Sense of "long, bounding stride" is from 1809.