Go over well, Die down

If something "goes over well," people like it; when a process "dies down" it's reduced in intensity

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To (not) go over well

Do you remember when I said that Disney wanted to trademark the term “Dia de los Muertos”? That didn’t go over well in Mexico, since Dia de Muertos is a common phrase, it’s a popular holiday like Thanksgiving is in the United States. So why should a big American company claim the rights to use that term exclusively? The idea didn’t go over well in Mexico. That means that it wasn’t received well in Mexico; they weren’t happy about it there. When an idea or a proposal goes over well, it means that people liked the idea; they received it well. More commonly, we say something does not go over well, meaning that the idea was not received well by its intended audience. Here are a couple of examples. The movie Coco describes a lot of Mexican traditions. It stayed true to real life in Mexico, so the story went over well with Mexican audiences. They liked it. Here’s another example from the big screen. The 1980s move Ghostbusters was re-made in 2016 with an all-female cast. That didn’t go over well with some traditionalists, who remember the all-male Ghostbusters from the original. But the female Ghostbusters cast did go over well with others, who liked seeing women in action movies for a change.

How do you think Prince Harry’s engagement to an American will go over in England? I think it will probably go over well with most people, but maybe it won’t go over well with a minority of people who might not want to see an American in the British Royal Family.

To die down

The second phrase I want to highlight this week is to die down. This phrase can be used in a variety of contexts, but it means that the intensity of something has been reduced. Earlier I said that Prince Harry was often in tabloid newspapers, but that his appearances have died down in recent years. That means they have stopped; either he is no longer in the newspapers for personal scandals, or that it’s just not as often as before. Here are a couple of other ways you can use “die down” in this context. Public figures often hope that scandals die down; they hope that the intensity of a scandal is reduced after a few days. You can also wait for anger to die down. Have your family or friends ever been upset with you over something you did? If so, you might hope that their anger or frustration dies down after a few days. It doesn’t have to be something bad. For example, do you think the enthusiasm for the movie Coco will die down any time soon?

In another context, you can hope for something physical to die down. It was raining really hard yesterday; I waited for the rain to die down before leaving the house. Or, the storm was so loud that it kept me awake last night; it didn’t die down until after midnight.

Here are a couple other examples. You can wait for applause to die down, meaning you can wait for the applause to slowly fade or stop entirely. A comedian might wait for the laughter in the room to die down before telling his or her next joke.

Even though there are a lot of different uses for this one, it always means the same thing—whether it’s a storm, a scandal, a controversy, or even laughter, if something dies down, it means it becomes less powerful or even disappears.


We have reached the end of this week’s program. I want to thank you for listening. I hope Plain English is useful for you. I’d love to hear your feedback on the program, so I’ve posted a link to a listener survey on the home page of PlainEnglish.com. You can take the survey in either English or Spanish. You can also e-mail me your thoughts. My email address is jeff-at-plainenglish-dot-com.

Thanks again for listening and I’ll see you right back here next week

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Story: Coco, Prince Harry engaged