crash and burn

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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