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 ?
``Look cool, Trigger, look cool,'' says Del as he smoothly falls flat on his face through an open bar hatch.
Going for scabrous comedy, he falls flat, as when he clumsily undertook the eminently reasonable idea of giving Manet's Olympia a race reversal, or when, apropos of nothing, he named his 1964 takeoff on David's portrait of Napoleon in the National Gallery The Greatest Homosexual.
David Aers attempt to problematize traditional period divisions -- medieval, early-modern, modern -- by linking Chaucer, Milton, and Freud as dream interpreters falls flat, in part because his argument depends on the anachronistic suggestion that Chaucer and Milton are presenting their literary renditions of dream interpretation as something akin to Freudian case-studies.
She falls flat on her bum and somehow, instead of giggling, everyone's saying, "Wow, hasn't she got great legs?"
However, results of research on the purported health benefits of mirth call to mind a well-told joke with a punch line that falls flat. Or so concludes psychologist Rod A.
companies into Russia falls flat. "Less than 25 percent of U.S.