Burst one’s bubble and pop one’s bubble

  • Burst one’s bubble and pop one’s bubble are idioms that have been in use at least since the early twentieth century. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words, or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, in the same boat, bite the bullet, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idioms burst one’s bubble and pop one’s bubble, where they came from, and some examples of their use in sentences.


    To burst one’s bubble and to pop one’s bubble means to impart information that will disappoint the one who hears it, to disillusion someone. The expressions burst one’s bubble and pop one’s bubble came into use in the early twentieth century and are most probably related to the invention of bubble gum. Bubble gum was invented in 1928 by Walter Diemer, a young accountant who worked for Fleer Chewing Gum Company. The gum was marketed as Dubble Bubble gum; the company is still in business today and Dubble Bubble gum is still manufactured. The idioms burst one’s bubble and pop one’s bubble refer to popping a bubblegum bubble that a child is blowing with his mouth. The emotions a child feels when someone pops his bubblegum bubble are sadness and disappointment. The idiom burst one’s bubble is used much more often than the expression pop one’s bubble. Related phrases are bursts one’s bubble, busting one’s bubble, pops one’s bubble, popped one’s bubble, popping one’s bubble.



    Sorry if I burst your bubble there — I would have thought dozens of franchise relocations and new-stadium blackmail schemes would have tipped you off by now. (The Mercury News)

    If you had hopes of finding E.T. anytime soon, one astronomer is about to burst your bubble. (The New York Post)

    But a friend, trying to be helpful, burst my bubble with a pragmatic question: “Does a soft pumpkin border truly impart the same satisfaction as a flaky, buttery crust?” (The Pueblo Chieftan)

    If you think this year is a one-off, I’m here to pop your bubble. (The Independent)

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