Burst bubbles, pop-up cherries

Cracker Jack

Senior Member
In today's online edition of USA Today, the headline reads ''Ghana bursts USA's bubble. Here is the link:


I didn't know that the expression could be used in this context. I immediately understood that it was as good as saying that Ghana dashed US collective hope with this elimination. I always thought that the phrase had sexual connotations, like what is printed on some shirts ''Virginity is like bubbles.''

A bubble once it gets burst is a bubble no more. But can it be used in some other ''innocuous,'' ''innocent'' and wholesome matters? In relation to this I recall the expression ''pop-up the cherry'' which can be taken to mean ''to devirginize.'' In fact, in the movie ''The Family Stone,'' the character of Diane Keaton made use of this in reference to a guy with whom his daughter (''mean'' daughter played by Rachel McAdams) slept with.

Is there any use for both expressions in a wholesome fashion? Is this purely an AE thing or is it also used in BE? What do you think? Thanks in advance.
  • Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hi CrackerJack,

    Your new understanding of "to burst someone's bubble" is the usual meaning: to dash someone's hopes or unrealistic expectations. I never knew it had any sexual connotations.

    I believe the 2nd expression is "to pop a cherry" (no "up"). The only meaning I know of is the sexual one: Bob popped Mary's cherry last night. Mary got her cherry popped last night, etc.

    I'm willing to be enlightened on both expressions if someone knows other meanings.

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I only use "bubble bursting" to mean shatter dreams or illusions ..

    The metahporic shift to the thing you've seen on a tee-shirt is obvious now you mention it, but I wouldn't say it is the most common use, just cos you saw it first!


    Senior Member
    USA and English
    I always associate 'bursting a bubble' with childhood bubble blowing. We would make these huge soap bubbles that would shimmer and shine and float on air. All very exciting until 'pop' -- then it's gone.

    Cracker Jack

    Senior Member
    Thank you very much Joelline, suzi br and languageGuy for enlightening me on this matter. In fact, I recalled a song by Shampoo, the soundtrack of the movie ''Jawbreakers'' a few years back entitled ''Trouble.'' The lyrics of the song was adjudged tops of nonsense lyrics and the chorus makes reference to this phrase.

    You are right suzi br. If I had heard it in a different way, I would not have thought of the connotation. However, I first saw it on a shirt and the impression stuck. But thanks to all of you, I can now freely use it without ''guilt'' :)