Posted by Masakim 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 v by 1924 to kill A Soviet euphemism [based on Russian _likvidirovat_, "liquidate, wind up"]
From Dictionary of American Slang by R.L. Chapman

liquidate v. 1 [mid-19C] (US) to pay one's debts. 2 [1930s+] (orig. US) to kill someone. [ is SE in UK. euph. used during the Stalinist era in the former USSR]
From Cassell's Dictionary of Slang by Jonathon Green

My God, you'd think he was going to be liquidated tomorrow' (Kober, _Wonderful Time_, 1937)