go up in flames

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go up in flames

1. To be destroyed by fire. I can't believe you left the oven on! Do you want the house to go up in flames?
2. To fail spectacularly or to a great degree. My presentation went up in flames when the slideshow stopped working and I forgot the rest of my speech.
See also: flame, go, up
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

go up in flames

 and go up in smoke 
1. Lit. to burn up completely. The entire forest went up in flames! The expensive house went up in smoke.
2. Fig. [for value or investment] to be lost suddenly and totally. Everything we own has gone up in flames with the stock crash. The entire investment went up in smoke.
See also: flame, go, up
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

go up in flames

Also, go up in smoke. Be utterly destroyed, as in This project will go up in flames if the designer quits, or All our work is going up in smoke. This idiom transfers a fire to other kinds of destruction. [Early 1900s]
See also: flame, go, up
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

go up in flames

or

go down in flames

If something goes up in flames or goes down in flames, it fails or comes to an end, or is destroyed completely. I saw my entire reputation go up in flames and the world still went on turning. On May 1st, the proposal went down in flames. Note: The expression go up in flames is used literally to talk about something being destroyed by fire.
See also: flame, go, up
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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