Posted by Bruce Kahl on November 25, 2001 at

In Reply to: Liquidate posted by Arthur Williams on November 25, 2001

: : One usage of the verb liquidate is "to kill". In the movie "The Wizard of Oz", the witch is destroyed with water, and, I think, the Tinman comments "So, you liquidated her". The use of "liquidation" was popular in spy genre and other cold war fiction. Is there any connection to the movie or was "liquidation" (to kill) in common usage prior?

: It was in common use in mid to late 19th century England - probably because liquidation of a company described the winding-up process which followed its going bankrupt, after which the company was 'dead'.

"Liquidate" is derived from the Latin "liquo" which means "to make liquid,melt; to strain, clarify".
Yes, when something is liquidated there is a sense of a larger entity melting or being whittled down.