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- Origin of the idiom “go south” 3 answers
If things went south we better have some plan...
Is went south a racial term or it's okay to use it in normal conversation to refer if things went wrong?
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According to the OED, this meaning of ‘south’ comes originally from stock markets.
South on a map is obviously down at the bottom, and when stocks go downwards, towards the ‘south’, they devaluate; hence the expression ‘go south’.
There is no element whatsoever of it being a racial term. I can’t even imagine how ‘south’ would be racially loaded at all—if anything, ‘southern’ (in American English) is a culturally loaded term. Hardly a racially loaded one.