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Updated: Apr 3, 2020

You know WhatTheySay... “What Goes Up Must Come Down.”


“The term “what goes up must come down” is a phrase that means things that rise must eventually return to the earth due to gravity.

The Origin Of ‘What Goes Up Must Come Down’

Things that are launched into the air will return back to the ground. Why? Because gravity, that’s why. Whether it’s someone jumping up as high as they can, a football being thrown over an open field, or airplanes flying from one country to another, all of these things cannot remain in the air forever. Eventually, due to the force of gravity, they will have to return to the ground. That’s the idea behind the phrase. It’s basically a simple observation of what gravity does to people and objects. 

This is one of the older phrases in English that’s still in use today. Yes, this saying is nearing 200 years old. It dates back to the early 19th century, and its wording from that time is actually identical to what it is today. For example, in Theodore Sedgwick’s Hints to my Countrymen, 1826, it reads:

“When one boy among a dozen throws a stone into the air, crying out, that ‘what goes up must come down,’ it is very likely so to happen.”

Example Sentence(s)

  • Barnes’ pet bird escaped from his house and flew away. He knew that what goes up must come down, so he put a perch outside and hoped his bird would come back.”


Cited. “What Goes Up Must Come Down (Phrase) - Meaning, Origin.”Know Your Phrase, 17 Dec. 2019,

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