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lead balloon

An utter failure and/or something that causes displeasure. Often heard in the phrase "go over like a lead balloon." A: "How do you think everyone will react to the lack of bonuses this year?" B: "Oh, that news will go over like a lead balloon!" I thought I'd finally had a breakthrough with my latest invention, but it turned out to be a lead balloon, like all the others.
See also: balloon, lead

go over

Euph. to leave one's country and go to ideologically opposed or enemy country; to defect. When the ballet company visited New York, two of the dancers went over. He had been spying for the Americans for many years, and he finally went over.

go over like a lead balloon

Fig. to fail completely; to go over badly. Your joke went over like a lead balloon. If that play was supposed to be a comedy, it went over like a lead balloon. Her suggestion went over like a lead balloon.
See also: balloon, lead, like

go over someone or something

to examine someone or something. The doctor will go over you very carefully, I'm sure. I went over the papers and found nothing wrong.

go over something (with someone)

to review or explain something. The teacher went over the lesson with the class. Can you please go over it again, more slowly?

go over (to some place)

to travel some distance or cross water to get to some place. We went over to Cedar Point and spent the day having fun. John went over to the other side of the stadium for the rest of the tournament.

go over (well)

[for someone or something] to be accepted or well received. The party went over very well. The play really went over with the audience.

send someone or something up

1. Lit. to order someone to go upward to a higher level; to arrange for something to be taken upward to a higher level. I'll send up Gary. They are hungry on the tenth floor. Let's send some sandwiches up.
2. Fig. to parody or ridicule someone or something. Comedians love to send the president or some other famous person up. The comedian sent up the vice president.
See also: send, up

send someone up

Fig. to mock or ridicule, particularly by imitation. Last week, he sent the prime minister up. In his act, he sends up famous people.
See also: send, up

send up a trial balloon

to suggest something and see how people respond to it; to test public opinion. Mary had an excellent idea, but when we sent up a trial balloon, the response was very negative. Don't start the whole project without sending up a trial balloon.
See also: balloon, send, trial, up

trial balloon

a test of someone's or the public's reaction. It was just a trial balloon, and it didn't work. The trial balloon was a great success.
See also: balloon, trial

go over

to be judged in a particular way I think your speech went over very well.

go over something

1. to examine or look at something in a careful way Remember to go over your essay to check for spelling mistakes.
2. to study or explain something Let's go over the rules before we begin.

the balloon goes up

if the balloon goes up, a situation suddenly becomes very serious or unpleasant The balloon went up last Friday when the scandal became public.
See also: balloon, goes, up

go down like a lead balloon

if something that you say or show to people goes down like a lead balloon, they do not like it at all My joke about the alcoholic went down like a lead balloon.
See also: balloon, down, lead, like

balloon goes up, the

The undertaking begins, as in He's going to announce his candidacy for mayor-the balloon goes up on Monday. This expression comes from World War I, when British artillery sent up a balloon to notify gunners to open fire, this visual signal being more reliable than courier or telephone. It was soon transferred to signal other kinds of beginning. [1915]
See also: balloon, goes

go over

1. Examine, review. For example, They went over the contract with great care, or I think we should go over the whole business again. This term originated in the late 1500s, then meaning "consider in sequence."
2. Gain acceptance or approval, succeed, as in I hope the play goes over. This term is sometimes elaborated to go over big or go over with a bang for a big success, and go over like a lead balloon for a dismal failure. [Early 1900s]
3. Rehearse, as in Let's go over these lines one more time. [Second half of 1700s]

send up

1. Put in prison, as in He'll be sent up for at least ten years. [Mid-1800s]
2. Cause to rise, as in The emissions sent up by that factory are clearly poisonous. [Late 1500s]
3. Satirize, make a parody of, as in This playwright has a genius for sending up suburban life. [First half of 1900s]
4. send up a trial balloon. See trial balloon.
See also: send, up

trial balloon

An idea or plan advanced tentatively to test public reaction, as in Let's send up a trial balloon for this new program before we commit ourselves. This expression alludes to sending up balloons to test weather conditions. [c. 1930]
See also: balloon, trial

go over

1. To go to a place: Let's go over to the store and buy a snack. My friend was feeling lonely, so I went over and cheered him up.
2. To examine or review something: We'll go over last week's lesson before we start a new one.
3. To search something thoroughly: I went over my entire room, but I couldn't find my wallet.
4. To perform an action on the entire surface of something: The table still looked dusty, so I went over it with a damp cloth.
5. To gain acceptance or garner a reaction or opinions: The new movie went over superbly. I think your criticism went over well.
6. go over with To gain acceptance or garner a reaction or opinions from someone: We weren't sure if our play would go over with the critics. Our comments went over badly with the press.

send up

1. To send someone to jail: They sent the crook up for ten years. The cops busted the gang and sent up the leader.
2. To make a parody of someone or something: The comedian sends up contemporary culture. I'm not afraid to send myself up to make people laugh.
See also: send, up

balloon knot

n. the anus (From its appearance.) Yeeeouch! Right in the balloon knot!
See also: balloon, knot


n. a woman’s breasts, especially large ones. (Usually objectionable.) What fine balloons on Jim’s girl!
See also: balloon

go over like a lead balloon

in. [for something meant to be good] to fail to be good. (see also go over big.) I’m afraid your plan went over like a lead balloon.
See also: balloon, lead, like

trial balloon

n. a test of someone’s reaction. It was just a trial balloon, and it didn’t work.
See also: balloon, trial
References in periodicals archive ?
The ballooning expertise he lacks will be provided by Brian Jones, who with Swiss balloonist Bertrand Piccard became the first man to fly a balloon non-stop around the world last year.
At least 20 attempts by balloonists to circle Earth have been made in the past decade alone, and all but this one fell far short.
Speaking from the balloon's control centre in Bristol, he said: "What balloonists do wish each other is a very safe flight and preferably not too long a one.
He joins four other teams of balloonists racing to be the first to circumnavigate the globe non-stop.
Name the American balloonist who was rescued from the Coral Sea.
Balloonist Steve Fossett is hoping to reach the English Channel today in his bid to fly around the world non-stop.
The FT balloon is the brainchild of London-based Peter Mason, ex-Fleet Street journalist turned professional hot air balloonist.
The American millionaire, in his sixth bid to become the first solo balloonist to circle the globe, was cruising at nearly 63mph at 23,300 feet, just off the coast of New Zealand.
BALLOONIST Steve Fossett was last night flying out over the South Pacific - the most dangerous leg of his solo round-the-world attempt.
Fossett, a 54-year-old commodities broker from Chicago, was almost killed Sunday attempting to become the first balloonist to circle the world nonstop.
And earlier that year, a professional balloonist and two women passengers were rescued 1200ft up on the Pennines when their craft hit a pylon.
BALLOONIST Steve Fossett had to climb out and fix an aerial just hours after starting his round-the-world flight yesterday.
It was more than 12 years ago that his love of glider planes brought him to another local balloonist.
Christine, 32, of Norwich, sued the balloonist for personal damages after the accident in a field in 1994.
ROUND the world balloonist Brian Jones has sunk his $1million prize into saving African children from a killer flesh-eating disease.