Posted by Masakim on February 17, 2003
In Reply to: Biblical -- Kiss of death posted by Andy Sporner on February 17, 2003
: Hi there,
: I am not sure if it is used in British English, but
: in American English the expression can be used. Such
: as "When he heard that the company heard that the
: product was unfinished, it was the kiss of death". This is a reference to the way Christ was Betrayed in the
: Garden of Gethsemene by Judas (The one you seek I will
: give a kiss--and Christ saying "Judas would you betray
: with me a kiss?" The kiss that sent him to the cross,
: and thus the "Kiss of Death"
: I hope this might be a welcome addition to the
: biblical phrases section.
: Nice work!
KISS OF DEATH unwelcome
support from an unpopular source, occasionally engineered by the opposition.
Governor Al Smith of New York popularized the phrase in its political context in 1926, when he called William Randolph Hearst's support of his opponent, Ogden Mills, "the kiss of death."
The phrase is derived from the kiss of Judas and the betrayal of Christ. It is also described as coming from a gangland custom called _omerta_, said to have begun in Sicily. "In the mobss," wrote Russell Baker, "a kiss from the boss is tantamount to arriving at the office one morning and finding your rug gone. When [Joseph] Valachi got the kiss and noted that Johnny Dio was oddly anxious to have him step into the privacy of the showers, Valachi concluded that he was a 'dead duck' and defected."
From _Safire's Political Dictionary_ by William Safire.
There was a gangster movie titled "Kiss of Death" in 1947.