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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

Example Sentences

Verb belly up to the buffet table and help yourselves
Recent Examples on the Web
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
Even the legit biotechs were going belly up., 21 June 2021 More and more, these are the kinds of scraps that bondholders are fighting over as companies go belly up. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 27 Oct. 2020 Our old management went belly up, one manager started her own management company and was now contracted by the board to oversee our properties. Kelly G. Richardson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Apr. 2023 In normal market conditions, however, depositors with funds that exceed $250,000 stand to lose part or all of the money if a bank goes belly up. Max Zahn, ABC News, 15 Mar. 2023 With the used car price bubble deflating and more price drops coming if Carvana goes belly up, the large portion of households with more at risk in the used car market than in the stock market may be looking at its largest net worth decline in years. Scott Burns, Dallas News, 1 Jan. 2023 In the streams hit by the unknown scourge, 40 to 90 percent of the salmon went belly up. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Dec. 2020 When the institution went belly up, like so many others in the 1930s, my grandfather was livid. John Gurda, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4 June 2020 Enter Email Sign Up ‘’A private company with tens of millions of customers would go belly up if their information technology was older than the CEO’s parents,’’ said Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents IRS employees. Joe Davidson,, 24 Feb. 2023 See More

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 2 Jun. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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