Posted by Li Yar on April 08, 2008 at 09:23:
In Reply to: Re: Blow your brains out posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 03, 2008 at 12:36:
: : 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)
I heard that if you blew your nose too hard, you could find bits of brain in your handkerchief. it's true - I looked.