Also found in: Financial.
1. To escape; to vanish or disappear. (Not necessarily in a southerly direction.) Everyone in the gang went south when they learned that the police had discovered their hideout.
2. To fall or drop; to depreciate; to lose quality or value. (Especially related to finances or stock exchanges.) The company's stock profile continued going south for the third day in a row today. I used to be a big player in the stock market, but all my investments have gone south lately.
3. To cease working or functioning; to quit, fail, or fall apart. Talks between the labor union and the construction firm went south yesterday, so it looks like workers will be on strike again soon. My computer is only a month old, and it's already gone south.
go southand head South
1. Sl. to make an escape; to disappear. (Not necessarily in a southerly direction.) Lefty went South the minute he got out of the pen. The mugger headed South just after the crime.
2. Sl. to fall; to go down. (Securities markets.) All the stock market indexes went South today. The market headed South today at the opening bell
3. Sl. to quit; to drop out of sight. Fred got discouraged and went South. I think he gave up football permanently. After pulling the bank job, Wilbur went South for a few months.
Deteriorate or decline, as in The stock market is headed south again. This expression is generally thought to allude to compasses and two-dimensional maps where north is up and south is down. However, among some Native Americans, the term was a euphemism for dying, and possibly this sense led to the present usage. [Slang; first half of 1900s] Also see go west.
go Southand head South
1. in. to fall; to go down. (Securities markets. This is a way of saying down. South is usually “down” on a map.) The market headed South today at the opening bell.
2. in. to quit; to drop out of sight. After pulling the bank job, Shorty went South for a few months.
3. in. to make an escape; to disappear. The mugger went South just after the crime.