go belly up

(redirected from went 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

turn belly up

1. slang To die. Likened to a fish floating upside down when it dies. Those fireflies are going to turn belly up if you don't poke some holes in the lid of that jar.
2. slang To completely cease to work; to fail or become defunct. Sorry, Mark, I'd love to give you a lift to the airport, but my car turned belly up on me again. It looks like our co-op might be turning belly up if we aren't granted a licence for our communal work premises.
See also: belly, turn, 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.

go belly up

verb
See also: belly, up