This is how the English say when some attempt (usually a joke, speech, campaign...) fails. In Finnish siitä tuli pannukakku (became a pancake) or se lässähti (fell flat; descriptive word). The latter can also be used to describe atmosphere. In Italian, I suppose, there's no reference to pancakes. They say that something è andato a monte (went to the mountains) or ~ in fumo (smoke). Does your language have links to flat things (or even mountains)? Thank you! Edit: In Russian, people seem to shout блин! if something goes wrong. Is this true? They say det blev bara pannkaka av alltihop in Swedish, too.