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What is the origin of the phrase "When the balloon goes up"?

Question #68353. Asked by davejacobs.
Last updated Aug 28 2016.

Answer has 3 votes

Answer has 3 votes.
The phrase comes from World War I;british artillery sent up a baloon advicing to open fire.


Jul 17 2006, 11:10 AM
Answer has 4 votes
Currently Best Answer
17 year member
11752 replies avatar

Answer has 4 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
Balloon: When the balloon goes up is a phrase used to imply impending trouble. This relates to the use of observation balloons in the first World War. The sight of such a balloon going up nearly always resulted in a barrage of shells following soon after. The expression was re-inforced during WW2 when the hoisting of barrage balloons was part of the preparations for an air raid.


Response last updated by satguru on Aug 28 2016.
Jul 17 2006, 4:55 PM
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