Posted by Shae on October 19, 2002
In Reply to: Re: DEATH idioms posted by TheFallen on October 18, 2002
: : Hello!
: : I am interested very much in any idioms concerning death, especially the origination of such idioms as:
: : to dance the Paddington frisk/Tyburn jig/, to go west, to take a back number, to ride the mare, etc.
: : Thanks.
: The Tyburn jig's an easy one. Tyburn was a renowned site for public hangings in England. When hanged, the body's legs no doubt twitched, far moreso if the hangman had got it somewhat wrong, and the criminal got throttled to death, instead of having his neck broken - hence the blackly comical term, dancing the Tyburn jig.
: The link below will take you to a previous discussion on death euphemisms from the archives here - you'll find plenty in there.
To the west: According to Classical writers, the Gauls believed that the underworld was on an unidentified island in the West. In Irish myth, the island is called Tech Duinn, the House of Donn. On modern admiralty charts, it is identified as Bull Rock, situated a few miles off the Beare peninsula in southwest Ireland. The island is a barren rock archway under which the tide flows with considerable force and behind which the sun sets.