Idioms title

The Idiom Attic - a collection of hundreds of English idioms, each one explained.

"death" idioms...

See also, the Phrase Thesaurus list of phrases that contain the word death

and, a list of phrases that relate in some way the word death

" A fate worse than death "
Meaning:
The reputed opinion of sexual intercourse by prim Victorian ladies.
Example:
Lord Carruthers dragged me to his bedroom and left me in no doubt I was to suffer a fate worse than death.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but now considered rather old-fashioned and used mainly by the older generation.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   sex   euphemism   hyperbole  
" Bite the dust "
Meaning:
Die, especially in a violent or sudden way.
Example:
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid bit the dust at the end of the movie.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 18th century. Probably influenced by a biblical passage.
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   cliche  
" Bought the farm "
Meaning:
Died, especially in a violent way which may give rise to an insurance claim.
Example:
Henry's parachute failed at 20,000 feet - he really bought the farm.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 20th century.
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   euphemism  
" Brown bread "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for dead.
Example:
That bird just landed on the live power cable. He's brown bread for sure.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
More idioms about:   cockney_rhyming_slang   food  
" Bucket list "
Meaning:
A list of things you plan to do before you 'kick the bucket' (die). Often a list of fanciful ideas rather than of concrete plans.
Example:
I've always wanted to go to Japan. I guess I'll add that to my bucket list.
Where did it originate?:
USA, late 20th century - popularized by the title of the film The Bucket List (2007).
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   household_items  
" Dead ringer "
Meaning:
An exact duplicate.
Example:
I can't tell the twins apart. They're dead ringers of each other.
Where did it originate?:
American, late 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Most common in the USA, but used worldwide too.
More idioms about:   cliche  
" Dead white European male "
Meaning:
Derogatory reference to someone who has an unjustified reputation.
Example:
John Ruskin is a hero to some people in the art world but I can't see him as anything other than a dead, white, European male.
More idioms about:   colour  
" Dropping like flies "
Meaning:
Many people either falling ill or dying.
Example:
In the Black Death in 1348 Londoners were dropping like flies.
Where did it originate?:
USA, early 20th century.
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   animals  
" Flog a dead horse "
Meaning:
To attempt to make progress with something that has no future.
Example:
Reissuing Betamax tapes? You're flogging a dead horse there mate.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 17th century.
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   animals  
" Kick the bucket "
Meaning:
Die.
Example:
Grandad kicked the bucket last week. No real surprise - he was 96.
Where did it originate?:
Britain - 18th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   household_items   euphemism   slang  
" Kill two birds with one stone "
Meaning:
Accomplish two things with a single action.
Example:
When I chop the wood I get warm too. You could say I kill two birds with one stone.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 17th century. Found in the writings of Thomas Hobbes.
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   number   animals  
" Lord Fred "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for bed.
Example:
The hamster escaped and the cat got it - it's Lord Fred for sure.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
More idioms about:   cockney_rhyming_slang   name  
" Over my dead body "
Meaning:
Said when you absolutely refuse to allow something to happen.
Example:
He bullied me at school and now you want to promote him. Over my dead body!
Where did it originate?:
Britain, circa 1800. From the writings of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   conflict   the_human_body   hyperbole  
" Peg out "
Meaning:
1. To die, especially to die of old age. 2. To complete a circuit of the board in the card game cribbage.
Example:
1. Gran had been bedridden for months and finally pegged out yesterday. 2. Just six more holes to go - if I get three nines I'll be able to peg out.
Where did it originate?:
1. USA, mid 19th century. 2. Britain, mid 19th century.
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   sport  
" The empty chair "
Meaning:
The perceived absense of someone who is recently deceased.
Example:
Some days I can forget about Jim's death for a while, then I see the empty chair and the grief comes back.
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   household_items  
" Wouldn't be caught dead "
Meaning:
Referring to something you absolutely refuse to do.
Example:
I'm a lifelong socialist. I wouldn't be caught dead working for a hedge fund.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, late 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide but most common in Britain.
" You can't take it with you "
Meaning:
Suggestion that you should spend money and live life now as it will be no use to you after you die.
Example:
Grandma saved all her life but lived on a pittance. No one told her that you can't take it with you.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 1930s - deriving from several similar idioms dating from the early 19th century onward.
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   money   adage  
" Your number is up "
Meaning:
It is now your turn. For instance, if 1. You are about to die. or 2. You have won a lottery.
Example:
1. When I heard the bombers screaming towards us I was sure my number was up. 2. Who has ticket number 374? Come on down and collect your prize - your number is up.
Where did it originate?:
1. Britain, early 20th century. 2. Britain, early 19th century.
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   luck   number  

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