fall flat

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • v fall flat fail utterly; collapse "The project foundered"
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Fall flat to fail completely, as a shopman in attracting attention or purchasers, a new book, &c
    • ***

Quotations

  • Joan L. Curcio
    Joan L. Curcio
    “Jump into the middle of things, get your hands dirty, fall flat on your face, and then reach for the stars.”
  • E. V. Cooke
    E. V. Cooke
    “You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what's that? Come up with a smiling face, It's nothing against you to fall down flat/ But to lie there-that's a disgrace.”
  • James Thurber
    James%20Thurber
    “You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward.”

Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. feallan; Ger. fallen; prob. conn. with L. fallĕre, to deceive.

Usage

In literature:

The charges against me will fall flat.
"The Highgrader" by William MacLeod Raine
The things which count for so much with us, fall flat here.
"When Dreams Come True" by Ritter Brown
It was easy enough to gather flat stones and pile them in at the narrow place at the top of the fall.
"Harper's Young People, June 1, 1880" by Various
Don't leave your bicycle in the lower hallway of your flat-house for the other tenants to fall over in the dark.
"Social Life" by Maud C. Cooke
Meg could not fall flat, for Jud had hold of her hand, but she did drop her carefully held skirt.
"Four Little Blossoms at Brookside Farm" by Mabel C. Hawley
On his first try, "Rus" slips and falls flat before he gets to the ball and the pigskin rolls to the fence.
"Interference and Other Football Stories" by Harold M. Sherman
Not only the mills, but Yerbury, would fall flat.
"Hope Mills" by Amanda M. Douglas
It is flat on the top, falling off precipitously on every side.
"Fairy Tales from the German Forests" by Margaret Arndt
How many times have I got to tell you that the whole joke falls flat if you call me Chief?
"The German Classics, v. 20" by Various
She pressed her hand flat against the wall beside her, sure that if she moved it she must fall.
"Cecilia" by F. Marion Crawford
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In poetry:

Unfunny uncles who insist
in trying on a lady's hat,
—oh, even if the joke falls flat,
we share your slight transvestite twist
"Exchanging Hats" by Elizabeth Bishop
But Rome, we knocke at gate of God,
for opening to his throne:
Thou Rome, we fall downe flat to craue,
that we may weare his name.
"A description of olde Rome" by Roger Cotton
Midnight, and a letter comes to me from our mistress:
Telling me to come to Tibur:
At once!!
'Bright tips reach up from twin towers,
'Anienan spring water falls into flat-spread pools.'
"Homage To Sextus Propertius - III" by Ezra Pound
Oh! how awful and grand it must be on a sunshiny day
To see one of these icy mountains in pieces give way!
While, crack after crack, it falls with a mighty crash
Flat upon the sea with a fearful splash.
"Greenland's Icy Mountains" by William Topaz McGonagall

In news:

Is Apple's iOS 6 Falling Flat With Users.
Unfortunately, the app falls flat.
Big 10 Tickets Fall Flat.
More and more children are being severely injured or killed when even lighter, flat screen televisions fall on top of them.
Dollar flat against euro a day after Fed says it will keep rates low until unemployment falls .
Lakers flat in first half , fall to Knicks, 116-107.
Classic Chamber Concerts' performance falls flat .
Pantalone's left-leaning message falls flat .
Gailey's Spiller excuses fall flat .
Gerard Butler's Hair Scores, 'Keeps' Falls Flat .
France's Financial Crackdown Is Falling Flat .
Motion To Fire Fox Falls Flat, Infuriates Alston.
Gerard Butler's Hair Scores, 'Keeps' Falls Flat.
You saw that old man fall flat on his face onto the sidewalk.
Europe's debt deal is falling flat.
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In science:

Flat-space experience therefore suggests that there need not be a problem associated with escaping modes having large energies as seen by freely-falling observers.
Quantum Gravity in Everyday Life: General Relativity as an Effective Field Theory
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