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bel·​ly-up ˈbe-lē-ˈəp How to pronounce belly-up (audio)
: hopelessly ruined or defeated
especially : bankrupt
the business went belly-up

belly up

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bellied up; bellying up; bellies up

intransitive verb

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

Examples of belly-up in a Sentence

Verb belly up to the buffet table and help yourselves
Recent Examples on the Web
Usually, a belly-up fish isn’t long for this world. Elizabeth Anne Brown, New York Times, 22 Nov. 2023 Small fish float belly-up alongside snakelike tubes of irrigation piping. Melissa Gomez, Los Angeles Times, 5 Aug. 2023 BitcoinBuilder, Jones’s exchange, had a significant amount of funds tied up in Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest exchange and which went belly-up after hackers siphoned approximately $500 million from under its owner’s nose. Ben Weiss, Fortune Crypto, 11 Apr. 2023
And Victoria Thomas, who served as the casting director for the filmmaker’s Once Upon a Time, Hateful Eight and Django Unchained, was in the process of coming on board and is said to have been making some initial outreach to actors when the effort went belly up. Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Apr. 2024 The disgraced fraudster was once worth as much as $26.5 billion, ranked the 25th richest person in America, until his crypto trading firm went belly up in 2022, crashing his fortune to basically nothing. Devin Sean Martin, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 Who didn't want to belly up to the bar at their tavern? Abby West,, 20 Mar. 2024 By 1933, Paramount was on the verge of going belly up. Thomas Doherty, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Feb. 2024 But as Musk’s antics continued, Swisher’s own plans for Twitter went belly up. Bypaolo Confino, Fortune, 28 Feb. 2024 The 0-4 record without Herbert — including the first Denver game — has raised the draft slot of a team that had already gone belly up. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Jan. 2024 Ed’s Tavern 2200 Park Road. Kick back on the revamped patio out back or belly up to a table or the bar inside, somewhere near the old glowing hardware sign at this casual neighborhood hangout. Katie Toussaint, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 For a post-dinner classic cocktail, belly up to The Bar & Patio at Husk. Megan Murphy, Travel + Leisure, 18 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'belly-up.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



from the floating position of a dead fish

First Known Use


1918, in the meaning defined above


1880, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of belly-up was in 1880

Dictionary Entries Near belly-up

Cite this Entry

“Belly-up.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2024.

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