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“What Goes Up Must Come Down” 

Literal Meaning: 

The phrase, “What goes up must come down,” is a term that usually means something that is up in the air will always and eventually fall back down due to gravity. 

Conversely, it can be a colloquialism that means good things will not last forever. 

Example: Dan accidentally let a handful of helium balloons into the air. As they slowly ascended into the sky, his friend told him, “don’t worry, what goes up must come down!” 

The Origins Of “What Goes Up Must Come Down”

Things that go up into the air tend to return to the ground shortly, but why? Gravity! Whether it be a mouse or a plane, something launched into the air and left to its own devices, the forces of gravity will act and cause them to come back down. This is the idea behind the common phrase, as in its original essence, it is a quaint observation on the force of gravity! 

This is a fairly old English phrase that is still in common use to this day. It can be traced back to around 200 years ago in the 19th century. Rather uniquely, however, it is one of the only popular sayings that has retained its original meaning through time.

Example Sentences:

  • Sarah was sad to see his pet parrot fly out of the window. However, his friend let him know that what goes up must come down, meaning that the bird will most likely land by them soon. 
  • Jackson hit the ball high up into the air when playing baseball until almost no one could see it. The umpire then said, “don’t worry! What goes up must come down,” meaning that the ball would soon hit the ground. 

Related:  Fore more common phrases, their origins and meanings, check out our “common expressions” section.

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By Audrey Horwitz

Audrey Horwitz holds a master's degree in communication and a bachelor's degree in business administration. She has worked with numerous companies as a content editor including Speechly, Compusignal, and Wordflow. Audrey is a prolific content writer with hundreds of articles published for Medium, LinkedIn, Scoop.It, and Article Valley.

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