Skip to main content

When the balloon goes up vs When the eagle flies

when the balloon goes up —(coll.) when matters become very serious or critical:

  • The international rules of war are apt to be waived when the balloon goes up.

when the eagle flies—(U.S. sl.) on payday:

  • I’ll pay you back when the eagle flies.

Cf.: eagle has landed, the—(U.S. sl.) paychecks are in:

  • The principal got on the PA [public address system] and said, “Teachers, may I have your attention please: The eagle has landed.”