Bring the House Down or Bring Down the House – Idiom & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Bring down the house. Now, this doesn’t mean you’ve gone all Hulk and started smashing buildings. (At least, I hope not.) It’s obviously an idiom, but did it come from literal roots? Let’s dissect this phrase for a hot second. But before we begin, a heads up: this phrase might involve a lot more applause and less demolition than you think. Ready? Let’s dive in.

Bring Down the House Idiom Meaning

Bring the House Down or Bring Down the House Idiom Meaning

The phrase bring down the house is all about evoking enthusiastic applause or laughter from an audience, usually during a performance or a show. If you’re a comedian or a performer and you bring down the house, you’re doing an amazing job entertaining your audience.

I’ve also seen it applied in the opposite way to convey the idea of a performance being so drab that it bored the audience to death. Figuratively, obviously.

Bring Down the House vs. Bring the House Down: Which Is Correct?

Bring Down the House vs Bring the House Down Ngram
Bring down the house and bring the house down usage trend.

Does it really matter if you say bring down the house or bring the house down? Both versions are used and understood, but bring down the house is more commonly used. Still, both versions mean the same thing, and both will get you a standing ovation in the linguistic realm.

Origin and Etymology of Bringing Down the House

The phrase bring down the house is deeply rooted in the theater. It first appeared in print in an English publication back in the 18th century. The house refers to a theater or a venue where different types of performances take place. The phrase is as dramatic as its origin, isn’t it?

Synonyms for Bringing Down the House

Of course, there are less dramatic ways to get the idea across. So, try on any of these synonyms for size.

  • Get a standing ovation
  • Win the crowd
  • Make a hit
  • Knocked it out of the park
  • Killed it
  • Wow the audience
  • Rouse the crowd
  • Receive applause
  • Be a smash hit

Bring Down the House Idiom in a Sentence

Bring the House Down or Bring Down the House Idiom Meaning 1

How about some sentence examples for clarity? Here’s bring down the house in full use.

  • His last performance really brought down the house.
  • Jennifer Hudson’s soulful singing never fails to bring down the house.
  • The comedian brought the house down with his witty jokes.
  • Steve Martin brought down the house with his banjo skills. 
  • The band brought down the house with their new hit single.
  • Her motivational speech was so inspiring that it brought down the house.
  • At the talent show, the young dancer brought the house down with her routine.
  • The crowd erupted in applause; he knew he had brought down the house.
  • Their unique act was so unexpected that it brought down the house and was met with enthusiastic praise from critics.
  • The magician’s grand finale was sure to bring the house down.

Take a Bow

So, that’s your wordy encore with this popular idiom! Bring down the house might sound like a demolition order at first, but in the world of idioms, it’s a standing ovation. The beauty of language lies in its versatility and creativity. Keep exploring with me, and who knows what other fascinating phrases we’ll unravel next!