What Does Bring the House Down Mean?

Bringing Down the House Meaning

Definition: To perform and receive great acclaim for your performance.

This phrase, or its variant bring down the house, means that you have performed extremely well and have received a favorable reaction from an audience.

This is one of the greatest ways of describing someone’s success. Whenever someone has done an exceptional job with a task and others notice and celebrate his or her success, that person has brought the house down.

Origin of Bring the House Down

brought the house downThis phrase, which comes from the 1700s, is still extremely widely used today. It originates from the theater, in which the word house describes a room full of people gathered to watch a performance.

In the theater, when people bring down the house, they are clapping so thunderously loud and for so long that it may seem as if the entire audience is going to fall down in a rumble like an earthquake. There is so much noise created by the screaming and clapping from the audience that their celebration almost seems to threaten to destroy the entire building.

Examples of Bring the House Down

brought down the houseAt a great concert, people would say that the singer and band onstage brought the house down. This would be signified by applause and crowd members screaming.

People might also use this phrase to describe other types of performances. An actor’s performance might bring the house down, and one might also say that the playwright who created the actor’s script brought the house down.

People may even say that a speech brought the house down if people responded well to the speech, especially if they cheered at the end or during several other points of the speech. It is even possible for a written paper or book that has been critically acclaimed and passed around to many people to be described as bringing down the house.

More Examples

  • A cringe-worthy joke it was, for sure, but conservative Texas Republican Rick Perry and liberal U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota nearly brought down the house during Perry’s confirmation hearing in Washington. –Houston Chronicle
  • Watch Jennifer Hudson and the Broadway cast of ‘The Color Purple’ bring down the house singing ‘Purple Rain’ –LA Times

Summary

If you bring down the house, you have done something very well.