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Dead, dead, dead

Posted by R. Berg on March 01, 2002

In Reply to: Dead, dead, dead posted by ESC on March 01, 2002

: : : : : : : When my great grandfather was a cowboy. On his death bed, he held my grandfather's hand and said "I'm going over the Big Ridge. Look after your mama." I doubt the euphamism was his invention, I think it was probably just what they called it at the time - at least on the high plains in the United States. It's an apt metaphor for that part of the country.

: : : : : : : Anyway, I got to wondering if there were other regional euphamisms for death or dying. Somthing along the lines of "I'll be sleeping with the 'gators" for Florida maybe?

: : : : : : : And while I'm packing them in, another euphamism I like is "pushing up daisies". I think it's British but I'd be interested in its origin if anyone knows it.

: : : : : : There is the vicious euphemism "improved the gene pool" favoured by The Darwin Awards.

: : : : : : Monty Python's the Parrot Sketch is really just a list of such:
: : : : : : He's NOT pining - he's passed on!
: : : : : : This parrot is no more.
: : : : : : He has ceased to be.
: : : : : : He's expired and gone to meet his maker.
: : : : : : It's a stiff.
: : : : : : Bereft of life, he rests in peace.
: : : : : : If you hadn't nailed him to the perch, he'd be pushing up the daisies.
: : : : : : He's off the twig.
: : : : : : He's shuffled off this mortal coil.
: : : : : : He's run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible
: : : : : : ... ...
: : : : : : Vis-a-vis the metabolic processes, he's had his lot.
: : : : : : All statements to the effect that this parrot is still a going concern are henceforth inoperative. This is an EX-parrot.

: : : : : : TheUnlurker

: : : : : Ooh-ooh! Simulpostings! They're like busses, no-one posts for days and then fourteen come along all at once.

: : : : : It's enough to make one think to do oneself in.
: : : : : (Was that English?)

: : : : : TheUnlurker

: : : : The fact that two of you instantly referred to the Parrot Sketch is both frightening and inspiring.

: : : One that I heard in southern West Virginia isn't really a euphemism. It refers to the time period between death and burial. (The body isn't buried immediately -- a "wake" or "visitation" is held in the home or, more commonly now, the funeral home.) "Snow hasn't drifted that deep since John lay a corpse." Others: "No longer with us." "Gone to a better world." "Gone to be with the angels." Asleep in the arms of God." "Crossed over."

: : : I heard someone in WV refer to a death by gunshot: "He got his popcorn." Another violent death reference: "He got his killin' done."

: : : I believe the Salvation Army says their dearly departed are "promoted to glory."

: : I found two more in my grandfather's book. "laying down and curling up my toes", "pushing up sod".

: And a few more...

: From the "Wordsworth Book of Euphemism" by Judith S. Neaman and Carole G. Silver (Wordsworth Editions, Hertfordshire, 1995):
: a one-way ticket (or ride) (gangster expression)
: a pale horse (death) (Revelation 6:8)
: at peace
: be under the daisies
: become a landowner (be buried)
: bow out (theatrical)
: cash in one's checks
: cashed in his chips (poker)
: crossing over the River Jordan (black spiritual)
: curtains (theatrical)
: doing a dance in mid-air (cowboy - hung)
: free
: gone across or over the creek (violent death)
: gone out
: gone to a better place (or to sleep)
: gone under
: grounded for good (die as a soldier)
: hang up one's harness (or hat or tackle) (cowboy)
: home
: in the Hereafter
: it's taps (military)
: jumped the last hurdle (steeple-chasing or fox-hunting)
: laid to rest
: lose a decision (boxing)
: making the ultimate sacrifice (die as a soldier)
: necktie party (cowboy - hung)
: negative patient outcome (modern medicine)
: no longer with us
: old Floorer (death personified, 15th century poem)
: pass out of the picture (maybe early cinematography)
: pay day (1600s)
: pay Saint Peter a visit (20th century American)
: pop off
: promoted to glory (Salvation Army)
: Requiescat in pace (RIP)
: rest in peace (RIP)
: ring off
: settle one's accounts
: snuffed out (adapted from Shakespeare)
: switch out the lights (theatrical)
: take a count or take a long count or the last count (boxing)
: take a long walk off a short pier (gangster)
: take the last bow (theatrical)
: Texas cakewalk (hung)
: the big jump (cowboy's expression)
: the call of God
: the final call
: the final curtain (theatrical)
: the final summons (from imagery in Revelations)
: the Great Leveller (Death personified)
: the Great Whipper (Death personified, British term of the 1860s from fox-hunting)
: the Grim Reaper (Death personified. First use may be Longfellow's "The Reaper and the Flowers," 1839)
: the last getaway (gangster)
: the last muster (die as a soldier)
: to be at rest
: to be blown over the creek (violent death)
: to be cut off
: to be gone to a better place
: to be human fruit; strange fruit (Black expression for lynching)
: to be in (or rest in) Abraham's bosom
: to be in Heaven
: to be present at the last roll call (die as a soldier)
: to be trumped (cards)
: to be with God
: to be with our Father
: to be with the angels
: to check out
: to count the daisies
: to croak
: to cross over
: to cut one's stick (refers to carving a new walking stick)
: to dangle in the sheriff's frame (British, late 1800s)
: to decorate a cottonwood tree (cowboy)
: to do one's bit (die as a soldier)
: to drop hooks or pop off the hooks (may be irreverent allusion to the nailing of Christ on the cross)
: to fire one's last shot (die as a soldier)
: to go home in a box (military)
: to go the way of all flesh (Douay Bible's translation of III Kings 2:3)
: to go to one's last (or just) reward
: to go to one's long home (Ecclesiastes, 12:5)
: to go to the hereafter
: to go to the last roundup (cowboy)
: to go up Salt River (political)
: to go West (early use: Scots poet Gray, 1515. Probably to the setting sun.)
: to have a funeral in one's family (gangster)
: to have found rest
: to have one's name inscribed in the Book of Life (Jewish)
: to hop the last rattler (1915 term for fast freight train)
: to join the Immortals or be among the Immortals
: to jump the last hurdle (cowboy's expression)
: to lay down your shovel (or hoe)
: to lay down's one's life (to die for country or cause)
: to lose or to have lost someone
: to pay the debt of nature
: to quit it or to quit the scene (Black English)
: to slip off (nautical)
: to strike out (baseball)
: tossed in his alley (marbles)
: wearing cement shoes (or overshoes or overcoat) (gangster)
: weighted down with his boots (cowboy's expression)

: From my own collection:
: death by HMO (health maintenance organization)
: make the O-sign (open mouth) or the Q-sign (open mouth + tongue) (modern medicine)

: From This Dog'll Really Hunt: An Entertaining Texas Dictionary by Wallace O. Chariton (Wordware Publishing, Piano, Texas, 1989, 1990):
: answered the last roll call
: don't have the pulse of a pitchfork
: just coyote bait
: morgue-aged
: on a stoney lonesome
: pushing up bluebonnets
: ready for a cold slab
: shook hands with eternity
: turned belly up (refers to animals turning belly up when dead)
: turned up his toes

: The state of being really, really dead:

: From Facts on File Dictionary of American Regionalisms by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 2000):
: "deader than a pelcher (pilchard) - Indisputably dead. Variations are 'deader than a mackerel' and 'deader than a duck." (Yankee Talk)
: "dead as a beef - Completely dead. With no life.dead as a hammer - Without any life at all." (Whistlin' Dixie: A Dictionary of Southern Expressions)
: "dead as four o'clock - Quite dead, refers to either the 'dead' end of the afternoon, or the quiet of four o'clock in the morning." (Mountain Range)

: From This Dog'll Really Hunt: An Entertaining Texas Dictionary by Wallace O. Chariton (Wordware Publishing, Piano, Texas, 1989, 1990):
: dead as hell in a preacher's backyard or a parson's parlor
: as a 6-card poker hand
: as Santa Anna
: as a lightning bug in the cream pitcher
: as a drowned cat in a goldfish bowl
: as a rotten stump

: Now I'm REALLY REALLY depressed.

And . . . sleeping with the fishes.

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