The phrase ‘burst your bubble’ means to give information to someone that will probably disappoint them. Basically, they receive bad news and it ruins their happy moment, or it destroys their expectations.
The Origin of ‘Burst Your Bubble’
Where does the saying ‘burst your bubble’ come from? Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the origin of this phrase is unknown. However, there is a theory for how it might have originated. We’ll get to that in a second, but first, let’s talk about how old this expression is:
The earliest appearance of this phrase in print (with its figurative meaning) is at the end of the 1860s. For example, in the year 1869, it is written in the Anglo American Times newspaper:
“They actually strove to fasten on the President, and the very Treasury which had designedly burst their bubble, complicity with the design, and so openly, boldly, and circumstantially was this done, that some people were for a moment staggered by the attack on the Executive.”
This means the idiom is at least 150 years old.
Where Did The Phrase ‘Burst Your Bubble’ Come From?
Here is a theory on this idiom’s origin:
This expression might come from the feeling of disappointment one experiences after the literal bubbles they blew pop. To elaborate, blowing bubbles is a fun activity kids do with their parents. During this activity, it’s common for kids to try to keep their bubbles floating for as long as possible, especially when they blow one that is bigger than the rest.
Sooner or later, though, that big bubble they are trying to keep afloat will crash into something and pop. Be it the ground, a wall, or someone’s finger poking it, that bubble is gonna burst one way or another, and when it does, the fun is brought to an immediate end. “Aw, I had it floating for so long!” Disappointment is felt.
Thus it seems this went on to be applied to other situations where a person’s happy moment is brought to an abrupt end. For example, someone might be really excited to see a new movie, but then they learn that all the tickets are sold out. Their excitement quickly turns to disappointment. “Aw, I really wanted to see it tonight.” It’s as if their bubble was burst.
- I hate to burst your bubble, Tim, but I won’t be able to pay you back that $50 I owe you until later this month.
- It really burst my bubble when I heard the new Football game was delayed by a couple months.