DEFINITION of 'Belly Up'

A slang term used to describe the complete and abject failure of an individual, corporation, bank, development project, etc. The term belly up is often used to describe a financial institution that has failed and been closed by regulators.

BREAKING DOWN 'Belly Up'

The Oxford English Dictionary records the earliest usage of the term in 1920 in the work of novelist John Dos Passos. During New York City's financial crisis in 1975, a columnist for the Washington Post declared "If New York can go belly-up, why not any city in the nation."

RELATED TERMS
  1. Evening Up

    A slang phrase used to describe an investor who closes a position ...
  2. Play

    A slang term that describes the positive aspects of an investment ...
  3. Chasing Nickels Around Dollar Bills

    Chasing nickels around dollar bills refers to when a company's ...
  4. Acquisition Indigestion

    A slang term describing an acquisition or merger in which the ...
  5. Assuming Institution

    Assuming institution is a healthy financial institution that ...
  6. Cutting A Melon

    A slang term used to describe when a board of directors declares ...
Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    From Booms To Bailouts: The Banking Crisis Of The 1980s

    The economic environment of the late 1970s and early 1980s created the perfect storm for a banking crisis.
  2. Personal Finance

    How Much Money Do You Need to Live in NYC?

    Learn how much money you need to meet basic expenses in New York City as a student, as a professional and as an unemployed job seeker.
  3. Investing

    How is an ETC Different From an ETF? (IAU)

    Exchange-traded commodity could be colloquially used to refer to a commodity ETF, but an ETC is actually a product name for a specific type of security.
  4. Personal Finance

    Top States For Investment Bankers

    We look at cost of living, tax rates and opportunity to find the best places in the U.S. for investment bankers.
  5. Insights

    New York's Economy: The 6 Industries Driving GDP Growth

    Learn about the six most influential industries in New York, the most economically productive city in the country, and home of Wall Street and Fifth Avenue.
  6. Financial Advisor

    5 Cities the Ultra-Rich Are Moving to

    Learn the top five cities worldwide that are attracting the most high-net-worth individuals, and discover factors that make a city appealing to the ultra-rich.
  7. Insights

    War Over "Too Big to Fail" Continues (RIF, CIT)

    Under new legislation, banks will no longer be designated as "too big to fail" just because they control assets of $50 billion or more.
  8. Tech

    What Are the Biggest Risks Associated With Banks Today?

    Evolving mechanisms and techniques of cybercrime have become the most severe risk associated with banks today.
  9. Investing

    What is Socially Responsible Investing?

    Whatever term you use to describe it, socially responsible investing continues to rise in the U.S.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the Difference Between an Industry and a Sector?

    The terms industry and sector are often used interchangeably, but they have slightly different meanings, with a sector being ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are key government regulations that affect investing in the banking sector?

    Discover how the global financial crisis of 2008 changed the face of banking in the United States and around the world by ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Inflation

    Inflation is the rate at which prices for goods and services is rising and the worth of currency is dropping.
  2. Discount Rate

    Discount rate is the interest rate charged to commercial banks and other depository institutions for loans received from ...
  3. Economies of Scale

    Economies of scale refer to reduced costs per unit that arise from increased total output of a product. For example, a larger ...
  4. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet its short-term obligations with its most liquid assets.
  5. Leverage

    Leverage results from using borrowed capital as a source of funding when investing to expand the firm's asset base and generate ...
  6. Financial Risk

    Financial risk is the possibility that shareholders will lose money when investing in a company if its cash flow fails to ...
Trading Center