go pearshaped

Thomas1

Senior Member
polszczyzna warszawska
I roughly know what the phrase means, however, I came across a sentence with it and it's been bugging me since then, could you please tell me if I have a good grip of it in the following sentence:
[...] the only one who's had anything of merit to say was xxx who goeth pear-shaped!
xxx has disappeared
or perhaps:
xxx has failed to answer
 
  • stranger in your midst

    Senior Member
    English / Scotland
    'to go pear shaped' = 'to turn disastrous', or at least 'to fail to go according to plan' in a drastic way.

    I always assumed to had something to do with an unwanted pregnancy.

    Similar expressions are 'to go belly up' or 'to go tits up', this last one bing somewhat crude.

    None of the above expressions is formal.
     

    gwrthgymdeithasol

    Senior Member
    English, Wales
    'to go pear shaped' = 'to turn disastrous', or at least 'to fail to go according to plan' in a drastic way.

    In a literal sense it can apply to people, especially women, who sit (or drive) around too long eating too much and who don't get enough exercise. They literally 'go pear-shaped' (except for the stalk), although some eventually end up grapefruit-proportioned.

    Tomorrow: people who literally have a pea for a brain.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Thanks for your contribution. :)

    I was wondering how informal this one is. Is it only colloquial or perhaps it hooks a tad more strong connotation, please?

    Tom
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    To go pearshaped:
    3. colloq. (chiefly Brit., orig. R.A.F. slang). to go (also turn) pear-shaped: to go (badly) wrong, to go awry.
    OED

    It is informal, colloquial, casual, but easily understood and still fairly common (here).
     
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