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Re: Blow your brains out

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 03, 2008 at 12:36:

In Reply to: Blow your brains out posted by ScifiKid on April 03, 2008 at 07:58:

: My band teacher says that the origin of the phrase "blow your brains out" comes from a trumpet player who played so high on a trumpet that didn't have valves that his brain cells sort of ... expanded and he died. Sorry I can't remember the medical word for what happened and who the great composer he played for was. (I'm pretty sure it was, Bach, though.)

This is nonsense. To "blow your brains out" means to shoot yourself in the head. I imagine you could theoretically kill yourself by blowing a trumpet too hard (by bursting a blood vessel in the brain, or some such), and such an accident could jokily be referred to as "blowing one's brains out". There's also the old phrase "to [verb] one's heart out", meaning to do something with all one's might. I suppose a bandmaster might get tired of exhorting "Blow your hearts out!" and take to saying "Blow your brains out!" by way of jokey variation. (VSD)