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  1. Olenek's Avatar
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    #1

    idioms meaning "to become bankrupt

    Hi everyone,

    There are some idioms, meaning "to become bankrupt":

    To go to the wall
    To go bust
    To go belly-up



    Are they really used in UK, USA or Australia nowdays? How often?
    Are there any differences in their using?

    Do you know another idiom with this meaning?

    Many Thanks to everyone!

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    #2

    Re: idioms meaning "to become bankrupt

    Quote Originally Posted by Olenek View Post

    To go to the wall
    To go bust
    To go belly-up
    Never heard the first one. The other two, yes.

    We also say "to go broke" or "to go under".


    As an aside, there's an expression specific to the US: "to file chapter eleven" or "to be in chapter eleven". This refers to some bankruptcy law they have; I assume it's a chapter, numbered 11. I know this from watching movies

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: idioms meaning "to become bankrupt

    And there's rather a neat mixed metaphor that's used of companies (but not, in my experience, of individuals). Such companies are often said to be 'drowning in red ink'.

    b

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    #4

    Re: idioms meaning "to become bankrupt

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    And there's rather a neat mixed metaphor that's used of companies (but not, in my experience, of individuals). Such companies are often said to be 'drowning in red ink'.

    b
    You can "go/be in the red", which means you're losing money. When you're not in debt you're "in the black".

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: idioms meaning "to become bankrupt

    In the old days of double-entry book-keeping, red ink was used for a debt and black for a payment. This is why I called the metaphor 'mixed' - [m2[m1 red/black ink = loss/profit]m1 ink = liquid,]m2 => business failure = drowning . Pretty neat, except that by this analysis you should be able to drown in black ink too

    b

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