Come on down


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Come on down'?

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The catchphrase used to invite audience members to the stage to become contestants in game shows.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Come on down'?

This, as you might expect is an American phrase. It has long been used when making an invitation, especially in advertising when trying to attract people to a store or an event. Here’s an example from a December 1901 edition of the New Jersey newspaper, The Trenton Times, in an advertisement for Dunham & Co. Department Store:

“Come on down and take in women’s garments coats and suits and fur jackets and fur capes…”

This idiom was picked up later by game show hosts when inviting contestants to come down out of the audience and join them on stage, always accompanied by whoops of delight. This was best known from ‘The Price Is Right’ game show, which began in 1972, hosted by Bob Barker. There was an earlier version of the show dating from 1956, but I can find no record of the phrase being used in that. ‘Come on down’ became a catchphrase for the programme, which is still running in the USA (2006).

Trend of come on down in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.