fall flat

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fall flat

1. To fail or be ineffective. Good luck—the last time management tried to implement a new dress code, that measure fell flat.
2. To fail to be humorous, as of a joke. A: "Unfortunately, my first stand-up routine really fell flat." B: "Well, maybe you just had the wrong audience."
See also: fall, flat
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

fall flat

Fail, prove to be ineffective, as in His jokes nearly always fell flat-no one ever laughed at them. [First half of 1800s]
See also: fall, flat
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.

fall flat

COMMON
1. If an event or an attempt to do something falls flat, it is completely unsuccessful. If the efforts fall flat and the economic situation does not change, this city can expect another riot 25 years from now. She was badly disappointed when the evening fell flat.
2. If a joke falls flat, nobody thinks it is funny. He then started trying to tell jokes to the assembled gathering. These too fell flat.
See also: fall, flat
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

fall flat

fail completely to produce the intended or expected effect.
See also: fall, flat
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

fall ˈflat

if a joke, a story, or an event falls flat, it completely fails to amuse people or to have the effect that was intended: I didn’t think the comedian was funny at all — most of his jokes fell completely flat.
See also: fall, flat
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

fall flat

1. To fail miserably when attempting to achieve a result.
2. To have no effect: The jokes fell flat.
See also: fall, flat
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
I ran to get the ball and slipped, falling flat on my butt.
Although we had always believed our facility provided good basic care, we had to come to the sobering realization that we were "falling flat" when it came to fall prevention.
After falling flat when its Venezuelan bottler deserted it, Pepsi has regained its fizz.
Mayor Hughie Griffiths yesterday raised his glass to the booze barrowboys who prevented one of the highlights of his year falling flat.
Avoiding falling flat on your face is the wrong priority.
Winona Ryder Girl interrupted by falling flat on her bottom while walking up the street.