"He blew it on packing"

What does "blow" mean here?

I tried to locate a dictionary that would make sense in this context, but I failed. It is a sentence a character in a TV show said, meaning that her husband did not really pack what was needed.

Could you please explain the meaning and most importantly, point me to the right dictionary entry?

EDIT: I guess I cannot use that with a verb, so "on" is used here to express what exactly he blew? I have always seen that only with nouns (as in, He blew his chance, or He blew the game).

  • 1
    to blow it (idiomatic) - to fail at something; to mess up; to make a mistake. In your context, the husband utterly failed to pack (the things he would need for his trip / holiday). Sep 27, 2018 at 12:46

3 Answers 3


To "blow" something is slang that simply means "to fail". The exact nuance will depend on context:

Ralph was upset because he was sure he blew the interview, but then later that day they called to say he got the job.

I tried to set the world record for 1000-meter skipping, but I blew it when I accidentally hopped instead of skipped in the last 100 meters.

My kids tried to make my wife breakfast for Mother's Day but they kind of blew it when they fried the toast and toasted the eggs. But she ate it anyway.

There are many ways to use this in a sentence, and for the most part the exact phrasing doesn't matter. "He blew it on packing" is just an alternate way to say, "He blew the packing."

However, it's not the best phrasing because it sounds like the unrelated idiomatic expression to blow (one's money) on [something] which means "to waste all one's money on".

He made a fortune but blew it all on expensive cars and ex-wives.

It's unnecessarily confusing, because in context it makes no sense to spend money on "packing".

Additional note: This should not be confused with the idiomatic expression to blow [someone] away (or for a loop, or out of their seats, or various similar expressions) which means "to impressively succeed".

The audience weren't sure of her when she got up on stage, but once she opened her mouth and started to sing, she blew them away with her talent.

Also not to be confused with to blow away meaning "to completely destroy":

Han Solo: Our position is correct, except, no Alderaan.
Luke Skywalker: What do you mean? Where is it?
Han Solo: That's what I'm trying to tell you, kid. It ain't there. It's been totally blown away.

Exhaustive list if idioms that use "blow"

  • Thanks, those are clear to me but that is different than what I asked in the question. I guess it is the "on" preposition that I cannot wrap my head around.
    – John V
    Sep 27, 2018 at 16:07
  • @user970696 I've edited my answer, and provided a link to a dictionary that should have many idioms that use "blow".
    – Andrew
    Sep 27, 2018 at 17:11

to blow it (idiomatic) - to fail at something; to mess up; to make a mistake. In your context, the husband utterly failed to pack (the things he would need for his trip / holiday).

(from comment by FumbleFingers)


You might need to find a dictionary of modern American slang and idiom. "He blew it on packing" simply means that "He packed very badly."

  • Can we say it is used in the sense of "to lose or miss (an opportunity) by acting in a stupid or clumsy way."
    – Mrt
    Sep 27, 2018 at 12:35
  • @Mrt But that is one of the "common" meanings, as found in dictionaries.
    – John V
    Sep 27, 2018 at 12:36
  • @user970696 Yes, I just tried to locate correct meaning of the word for this question for the OP. I got the definition from Meriam-Webster
    – Mrt
    Sep 27, 2018 at 12:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .