fall flat on one's face


Senior Member
Hello guys, what does "fall flat" mean in this context?
She fell flat on her face as she got out of the car.
Does it mean the woman fell down and her face bumped on the ground when she got out of the car?
I found this sentence in a dictionary, I wonder if it is good to use this phrase like this?

  • SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Well, I don't think her face necessarily made contact with the ground (at least I hope not). But it does indicate that she fell.

    To fall flat on one's face is also a figure of speech to convey the idea of failure. It is better explained here:
    to be completely unsuccessful at a task


    Senior Member
    US, English
    Yes, it's fine. This is both a literal expression and a figurative one. You can literally fall and hit your chest, arms, face, and so on, and it's called falling flat on your face (your body falls face-first, and you land flat on the ground). It also has the figurative meaning that you fail completely to accomplish what you were attempting. If someone tried to start his own business, and he closed down within a few months, most people would say he fell flat on his face, because his business didn't even make it a year.
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