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Lead balloon

Posted by Smokey Stover on December 03, 2003

In Reply to: Lead balloon posted by Rob on December 03, 2003

: What is the origin of 'go down like a lead balloon', meaning not go down well at all. Surely a balloon made of lead would go down (as in sink) very well. Or does it mean deflate, which a balloon made of metal would not do?

Try: 'Went over like a lead balloon.' I've never heard 'go down like a lead balloon.' It mixes two figures. "Go down" is sometimes used in the sense "go down smoothly, like a good drink or a nice warm glass of milk," that is, be received as welcome. The "a lead balloon" figure is usually used with "went over like." SS