What Does The Harder They Fall Mean?
Definition: The more successful someone is, the more challenges he or she will have when something goes wrong.
This is a proverb intended to teach a lesson to people. People either use the whole phrase when speaking, or they shorten the phrase to, “the bigger they are…” and expect their companion to mentally fill in the rest of the phrase.
As in many English phrases, the word bigger here is used to mean important, powerful, or successful. Therefore, it says that someone who has amassed a great amount of power or success is more likely to struggle and suffer in the face of a challenge.
Other variations of this phrase are the bigger they come, the harder they fall, the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and the bigger you are, the harder you fall.
Origin of The Harder They Fall
Variations of this saying come from hundreds of years back, but it was popularized by Bob Fitzsimmons, a world-famous boxer, in the mid-1800s.
The idea behind this phrase comes from the biblical story of David and Goliath. Goliath was physically large and seemed impossible to defeat in battle. However, David defeated him by using his own weight against him.
Examples of The Harder They Fall
Celebrities are a prime example of this phrase. When celebrities are caught doing something inappropriate, their story is displayed frequently.
If a normal person were caught saying something rude, only a few people present at the time of the incident would know about it. If a celebrity were caught saying something rude, videos would be posted and articles would be written, and the world would be invited to judge the celebrity. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
People may even sometimes use this phrase to celebrate or take pleasure in someone’s or something’s downfall.
- People say the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and the Rossoneri have really fallen hard this year. –CNN
- Mother always said the bigger they are, the harder they fall. If ever there was any doubt, the stunning case of CIA boss David Petraeus dispels it. –FOX
This phrase shows that difficulties have a higher impact on people who are famous or successful.