Gone to Pot – Idiom, Origin & Meaning

Photo of author

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.

The idiom gone to pot means that something has deteriorated or become ruined beyond repair. So where does the pot come into play here, and how do we use this idiom in a sentence? Well, I’ll show you, of course! Stick around for a second because I’ve got all the details about this quirky phrase you’ll ever need.

What Is the Meaning of Gone to Pot?

Gone to Pot – Idiom Origin Meaning

When we say something has gone to pot, we don’t mean it’s taken a turn toward the culinary world. Instead, we mean it’s fallen apart or not as good as it once was. Picture your favorite jeans after years of wear and tear—they’ve probably gone to pot unless you’re into the whole distressed denim trend.

Other Tenses to Use

Idioms are the English language’s favorite party trick and come in every tense you can imagine. Here’s a taste of using this phrase in different contexts and tenses:

  • Goes to pot (present tense): If you don’t look after your car and get regular oil changes, it goes to pot pretty fast.
  • Go to pot (base form): Don’t let your gardening skills go to pot over the winter; practice your skills inside.
  • Gone to pot (past participle): My diet has gone to pot since the holidays started, and I don’t even care.
  • Going to pot (present participle): My grandma is convinced the world is going to pot.

The Origin and Etymology of Gone to Pot

Gone to Pot Ngram
Gone to pot usage trend.

The weird expression gone to pot came about during the 16th century and was originally used to point to the lesser parts of meat being cut up to be cooked in a pot for soups and stews.

It took some time, but eventually, this meaning extended to describe anything that had been broken down or deteriorated, just like that meat destined for stew. William Tindale first used it in print in 1530 when he said, “Then goeth a part of ye little flocke to pot, and the rest scatter.”

Go to Pot Synonyms

  • Deteriorated
  • Declined
  • Total garbage
  • Ruined
  • Fallen apart
  • Gone downhill

Gone to Pot Examples in a Sentence

Gone to Pot – Idiom Origin Meaning 1

  • My computer has gone to pot since I downloaded that weird app.
  • With all these new skyscrapers, the city skyline is totally going to pot.
  • My baking skills go to pot whenever I try to make anything more than rice crispy treats.
  • The publishing world is going to pot with all these rapid changes that no one can keep up with.
  • My old car has completely gone to pot, but I can’t afford a new one.
  • Without proper upkeep and maintenance, your home can go to pot pretty fast.
  • Anne stopped practicing her violin, and her skills have gone to pot.
  • Without a good lead editor, the publishing project could go to pot.
  • The park has gone to pot since the city cut funding.
  • My sleep schedule is going to pot, thanks to late-night TV shows.

Stirring the Pot of Idioms

So, there you have it—the story behind the phrase gone to pot. It makes sense now, doesn’t it? Use this idiom the next time you want to express something falling into horrible disrepair. But now, if you don’t mind, all this talk about pots has made me crave some homemade soup.