belly-up

adjective bel·ly-up \ -ˈəp \

Definition of belly-up

: hopelessly ruined or defeated; especially : bankrupt
  • the business went belly-up

Origin and Etymology of belly-up

from the floating position of a dead fish


belly up

verb

Definition of belly up

: to move close or next to
  • bellied up to the bar

Examples of belly up in a Sentence

  1. belly up to the buffet table and help yourselves

First Known Use of belly up

1880

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
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Financial Definition of BELLY-UP

belly up

What It Is

In the finance world, a company goes belly up when it declares bankruptcy or goes out of business.

How It Works

Let’s assume Company XYZ’s stock falls from $10 per share to 50 cents per share due to a series of internal scandals and product failures. The company files for bankruptcy a week later. In this situation, we would say that Company XYZ went belly up.

Why It Matters

The financial world seems to have its own language sometimes. In this case, the slang term evolved from the fact that when creatures die, they tend to fall on their backs, with their bellies facing up.



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