fall on one's face

fall (flat) on (one's)/its face

1. Literally, to fall and land on one's face. I slipped on the banana peel, fell flat on my face, and nearly broke my nose. Poor Heather fell on her face during recess today, but she only has a few scrapes on her forehead.
2. To fail thoroughly or in a spectacular or embarrassing way. I'll never forget my first comedy routine. I got out there under the bright lights and fell flat on my face—not a single person laughed. Unfortunately the advertising campaign just kind of fell on its face and never gained any traction with consumers. I'm afraid that translation will fall flat on its face in this language, since we have no such idiom.
See also: face, fall, on

fall on one's face

Also, fall flat on one's face. Make a blunder or error of judgment, as in Holly fell on her face whenever she forecast earnings, or That weatherman keeps falling flat on his face with his predictions. This term, first recorded in 1614, originally had the literal meaning of "prostrate oneself in reverence." The present colloquial usage, however, transfers a physical fall to various kinds of bungling.
See also: face, fall, on