go belly-up

go belly up

1. To break or malfunction; to die, fall apart, or cease to work. ("Belly up" is sometimes hyphenated.) Sorry, Mark, I'd love to give you a lift to the airport, but my car has gone belly up on me again. It looks like our co-op might be going belly-up if we aren't granted a license for our communal work premises.
2. By extension, to have a poor, undesired, or ruinous outcome; to fail completely or not come together at all. We were all set to have our picnic on Saturday, but the weather went belly up and we had to cancel at the last minute. The merger deal between the two companies went belly-up when it came to light that one of the CEOs had been dodging tax obligations for several years.
See also: belly, up

go belly-up

Fail, go bankrupt, as in This company's about to go belly-up. This expression alludes to the posture of a dead fish in the water. [Slang; early 1900s] Also see go broke.

go belly-up

INFORMAL
COMMON If a company goes belly-up, it fails and does not have enough money to pay its debts. Factories and farms went belly-up because of the debt crisis. Note: This expression may refer to dead fish floating upside down near the surface of the water.