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Balloon goes up, the

The undertaking begins, as in He’s going to announce his candidacy for mayor—the balloon goes up on Monday. This expression comes from World War I, when British artillery sent up a balloon to notify gunners to open fire, this visual signal being more reliable than courier or telephone. It was soon transferred to signal other kinds of beginning. [ 1915 ]


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  • Balloon payment

    noun a large payment that concludes a series of smaller payments, for example in order to repay a loan

  • Balloon loan

    noun a loan in respect of which interest and capital are paid off in instalments at irregular intervals

  • Balloon room

    balloon room noun phrase A room where marijuana is smoked; Beat Pad [1960s+ narcotics; probably because one gets high in such a place] Historical Examples I arrived in good time and was told (I fancied rather contemptuously) that the contest was to come off in “the balloon room.” Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 93, […]

  • Balloon sail

    any light, loose sail, as a jib or spinnaker, used by a yacht in light wind. Historical Examples Baby jib top-sails had been sent down before the rounding, and spinnaker poles were now ready for the balloon sail. The Young Oarsmen of Lakeview Ralph Bonehill noun (nautical) a large light bellying sail used in light […]

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