fall (flat) on (one's)/its face(redirected from fell flat on face)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
fall (flat) on (one's)/its face
1. Literally, to fall and land on one's face. I slipped on the banana peel, fell flat on my face, and nearly broke my nose. Poor Heather fell on her face during recess today, but she only has a few scrapes on her forehead.
2. To fail thoroughly or in a spectacular or embarrassing way. I'll never forget my first comedy routine. I got out there under the bright lights and fell flat on my face—not a single person laughed. Unfortunately the advertising campaign just kind of fell on its face and never gained any traction with consumers. I'm afraid that translation will fall flat on its face in this language, since we have no such idiom.
fall (flat) on one's face
1. . Lit. to fall down, face first. Bobby fell flat on his face and skinned his nose. Down he went—he fell on his face.
2. Fig. to fail miserably, usually in a performance. She was terrible in the play. She fell flat on her face. The whole play fell on its face.
fall on one's face
Also, fall flat on one's face. Make a blunder or error of judgment, as in Holly fell on her face whenever she forecast earnings, or That weatherman keeps falling flat on his face with his predictions. This term, first recorded in 1614, originally had the literal meaning of "prostrate oneself in reverence." The present colloquial usage, however, transfers a physical fall to various kinds of bungling.
fall flat on your face
If someone falls flat on their face when they try to do something, they fail or make an embarrassing mistake. In trying to introduce prison reform, he fell flat on his face. I told myself I was going to try hard every day for a year, even if I fell flat on my face each day.