Go south



verb phrase

to fall or slide down; to decline; to fall in value
Examples

His golf game is going south.
Usage Note

slang; goes south, going south, went south, gone south
v.

“vanish, abscond,” 1920s, American English, probably from mid-19c. notion of disappearing south to Mexico or Texas to escape pursuit or responsibility, reinforced by Native American belief (attested in colonial writing mid-18c.) that the soul journeys south after death.

verb phrase

[probably fr the notion of disappearing south of the border, to Texas or to the Mexican border, to escape legal pursuit and responsibility; probably reinforced by the widespread Native American belief that the soul after death journeys to the south, attested in American Colonial writing fr the mid-1700s; GTT, ”Gone to Texas, absconded,” is found by 1839]
Deteriorate or decline, as in The stock market is headed south again. This expression is generally thought to allude to compasses and two-dimensional maps where north is up and south is down. However, among some Native Americans, the term was a euphemism for dying, and possibly this sense led to the present usage. [ ; first half of 1900s ]
Also see: go west

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