Posted by James Briggs on April 04, 2000
In Reply to: As Dead As A Door Nail posted by Costume Lady on April 04, 2000
: What does the phrase mean: "As dead as a door nail?" We are having a discussion in my office. Thanks in advance.
Doornail. The saying is many hundreds of years old and is one of many used over the centuries to describe death. It has survived longer than all the others, eg dead as mackerel, although : as dead as a doornail is an expression used to indicate actual or apparent total lack of life "dead as mutton" is still in use. Medieval doors were studded with heavy nails- Doornails, one of which was used as a knocker. This nail was clearly very unresponsive and dead to the constant assault, hence the saying.