Go Down Like a Lead Balloon (Origin)
What Is the Origin of the Saying "Go Down Like a Lead Balloon"?The term "go down like a lead balloon" means to be poorly received by an audience or to be a total failure.
In the US, "go over like a lead balloon" is also used.
Table of Contents
- English Proverbs and Idioms Test
- More Proverbs, Sayings, and Idioms
Examples of Use:
- His "English man, Scottish man, Irish man" jokes went down like a lead a balloon.
- I am expecting my sales pitch to go down like a lead a balloon.
- Well, that idea went down like a lead balloon. It's time for a rethink!
- My cakes went down a treat! My celery sticks went down like a lead balloon.
A number of sites state this saying originated in America, first appearing in a popular cartoon syndicated across several US newspapers in June 1924. However, a close look at Google's Ngram Viewer, which scans millions of publications over the last two centuries, tells you that "lead balloons" were being used for analogy as early as the 1860s.
It is clear from Google's graph, however, that the saying did not start to become popular until the early 1940s, i.e., during the Second World War.