Going down in flames—Culips English Podcast

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This was a question from one of our listeners in China: What does the expression to go down in flames mean? In today’s episode, we’re happy to answer that and to give you some other related expressions. In this episode, you’ll learn about different situations that end in a dramatic and negative way where these expressions can be used. We just hope this episode doesn’t crash and burn!

Maura Harp btn_lipservice.gif

Maura: So, this expression is also used to talk about something negative, so something ended in a negative way.
Harp: Yes. When something ends and it’s memorable and dramatic in a negative way.
Maura: Yeah. So it could be that something didn’t work or it failed. But any way you’re gonna use it, it has a negative ending in a memorable way.

Harp: And it could be used for anything. It could be sports, or work, or a project, or business. Really, to go down in flames could be used for so many different situations.
Maura: Right. Any situation where something can end and something dramatic can happen, really. Now, if you think of the image of an airplane, that’s connected to this expression. So you see an airplane flying and something’s not going well, the plane is going down, it’s falling to the ground, it’s going to crash. And the flames make the scene very dramatic and memorable, but it’s not a good thing, of course, that this plane is going to crash.

Harp: Yeah. A plane crash is negative so that’s why to go down in flames is used in negative situations.

Expressions included from this episode in Learning Materials:

To go down in flames To be up
To pour a glass of water over someone’s head To create a scene/To make a scene/To causes a scene
To crash and burn To pay off
To be out of it To boo
To go out with a bang On the spot
To burn bridges

Podcast/ Lipservice: Culips ESL Podcast, Photo: { pranav }

Posted in Catch Word