go pear-shaped

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

  • From the image of a solid rectangle 'slipping down' into a pear shape, thus 'the bottom drops out'.[1]
  • Presumably from the image of a balloon or football losing its spherical shape after puncturing.[2]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (file)

Verb[edit]

go pear-shaped (third-person singular simple present goes pear-shaped, present participle going pear-shaped, simple past went pear-shaped, past participle gone pear-shaped)

  1. (Britain, New Zealand, idiomatic) To go wrong; to go awry. [from 1990s]
    • 2017, Eric A Meyer; Estelle Weyl, CSS: The Definitive Guide: Visual Presentation for the Web, Kindle edition, O'Reilly Media, page 697:
      There are a few cases that need to be covered, as they fall under the general umbrella of “what grids do when things go pear-shaped.”

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jonathon Green (2005) Cassell's Dictionary of Slang, second edition, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
  2. ^ Tony Thorne (2005) Dictionary of Contemporary Slang, third edition, London: A & C Black