Down To Earth – Meaning & Origin


Practical or humble; unpretentious; reasonable.

Example: Louis had a nice conversation with someone he met at the grocery store. Louis later described the person he met as having a down to earth personality.

In other words, Louis found him to be sensible, or reasonable.

Synonyms / Related Phrases:
None as of now.

Origin Of ‘Down to Earth’

The origin of this idiom is unclear. The earliest I could find it in writing with its figurative meaning is during the early 20th century. The saying was used at that time (and I imagine it still is used in this way today to some extent) to describe how the cost of certain items were ‘reasonable and affordable.’ For example, in the Newark Advocate newspaper from the year 1922, there’s a section in the paper about women’s clothing that says:

“Here are four groups of worth-while garments at ‘down to earth’ prices.”

A second example of the phrase being used in this way comes from the Sandusky Star Journal newspaper, 1935:

“And, while our fashions are as new as tomorrow, our prices are the good down-to-earth prices that save you money.”

Example Sentences:

  1. I was worried that the repair costs of fixing my broken car would be too much for me to pay, however the prices were actually down to earth and reasonable.

Note: The origins for many popular sayings are not known. Generally then, what you’ll see on the phrase’s page is either a theory about its origins, or there will be a citation that can give you an idea for how far back in history the saying goes. So if you see an idiom in a quote that goes back to the year 1600, then you know the idiom is at that old, at the minimum.
I try to find the oldest known quotes available to include on the page.