What Does What Goes Up Must Come Down Mean?

What Goes Up Must Come Down Meaning

Definition: Things that rise also fall.

This expression is often used to say that something good will not last forever.

Origin of What Goes Up Must Come Down

This idiom originated in the 1800s and came from the physical properties of gravity. If you throw a ball in the air, it will come back down.

This expression is sometimes used in this literal way, but it is often used metaphorically as well. It can describe prices, power, or many other things.

Examples of What Goes Up Must Come Down

what comes up must come downThis example shows two women discussing their recent promotions.

Bella: Congratulations on your promotion!

Hannah: You too!

Bella: I’m so excited that we both got promotions. And this is your second promotion in two weeks!

Hannah: I know! But what goes up must come down. I’m worried that I’ll be too stressed. What if I can’t do the job well enough, and I get demoted?

Bella: Don’t be ridiculous! You’ll be great!

Hannah: I appreciate your confidence in me.

Bella: Try not to be this negative! Enjoy your promotion!

what go up must come downThe following example shows two college students discussing the meal prices at dinner.

Hanh: Every time we come here the food is more and more expensive.

Zhongyi: Yeah, well, what goes up must come down.

Hanh: You think the prices will fall? Why?

Zhongyi: A new competitor just opened up a new restaurant across the street. If this place wants to keep their customers, they’ll have to have comparable prices to the new place.

Hanh: That’s good. I love this place, but I can barely afford it now.

More Examples

In the below excerpt, the author explains that housing prices won’t rise forever.

He notes that once prices hit 20% or higher, historically, a painful drop in prices follows.

  • “Home prices are subject to the law of gravity,” he said. “What goes up must come down.” –New York Post

The second example involves a man who died from a bullet falling from the sky.

  • “It’s very dangerous to go outside and discharge a firearm in the air,” said HPD spokesman Victor Senties. “What goes up must come down and usually does so with greater force.” –Houston Chronicle


What goes up must come down means that things change, and if something is increasing or rising, it will eventually decrease or fall.