crash and burn

Computing Dictionary

crash and burn definition

jargon
A spectacular crash, in the mode of the conclusion of the car-chase scene in the movie "Bullitt" and many subsequent imitators (compare die horribly). A Sun-3 display screen losing the flyback transformer and lightning strikes on VAX-11/780 backplanes are notable crash and burn generators.
The construction "crash-and-burn machine" is reported for a computer used exclusively for alpha or beta testing, or reproducing bugs (i.e. not for development). The implication is that it wouldn't be such a disaster if that machine crashed, since only the testers would be inconvenienced.
[Jargon File]
(1996-02-22)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

crash and burn

  1. Fail utterly, as in Dale crashed and burned three times before passing the bar exam. This idiom alludes to a car or airplane that has crashed and caught fire. [Slang; 1970s]

  2. In skateboarding and other sports, be taken out of competition by a collision, accident, or fall, as in Although she was favored to win the downhill race, she crashed and burned on her first run. [Slang; 1980s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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