Is there any idiom / expression in English which can imply the situation in which someone due to some bad happenings suddenly and quickly plummets from the height of success and glory to the depth of wretchidness?

In my language, there is a proverb which says the same thing usually when someone loses their prior dignity and fame or when they go bankrupt in a short period of time!

Some English equivalents that I have found in translation pages are as below:

  • He raged to riches.
  • He came from somebody to nobody.
  • He came from hero to zero.

I don't know if they work in this sense of natural English! If they do, please let me know; if they don't please tell me the current expression, idiom or proverb which you use in this situation.

  • 1
    [wretchedness] Those "equivalents" are all incorrect.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 16:10

2 Answers 2


He raged to riches. He came from somebody to nobody. He came from hero to zero.

These "sentences" above look like machine translation and make no sense at all.

Corrections: - He went from rags to riches. [idiom]

The idiom could be reversed: He went from riches to rags. It's creative.

  • He went from being a nobody to being a somebody.

Not an idiom but it sounds fine and can be reversed: He Went from being a somebody to being a nobody.

  • He went from (being a) hero to (being a) zero. That's fine, but it is not an idiom per se.

To show a fall from on high:

  • He fell a long way. or: He has fallen a long way.
  • 2
    I think "hero to zero" (or vice versa) has become such a cliche that it may be on its way to becoming a standard idiomatic phrase. Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 16:51
  • 1
    @JamesRandom Well, it rhymes and is clever and sounds like an idiom but to tell you the truth, I had never heard it.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 17:15

All the options you talk about (which in their corrected form would be: go from rags to riches, go from zero to hero, become somebody) are more common in their positive version, though they could definitely be reversed to indicate a fall in fortunes--riches to rags is fairly common itself.

A few other options are:

Like going from zero to hero and becoming somebody, both of my suggestions are more about status/prestige/public opinion than they are about money.

  • The options given by the OP are all off.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 14:26
  • @Lambie Yes, you covered how to fix them, so I only mentioned other options.
    – Katy
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 14:29

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