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bring down the house

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Also, bring the house down. Evoke tumultuous applause and cheers, as in Her solo brought the house down. This hyperbolic term suggests noise loud enough to pose a threat to the building—an unlikely occurrence. In the late 1800s, British music-hall comedians punned on it: when the audience greeted a joke with silence, they said, “Don't clap so hard; you'll bring down the house (it's a very old house).” [Mid-1700s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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