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Last nail in the coffin

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on June 10, 2004

In Reply to: Last nail in the coffin posted by ESC on June 10, 2004

: : : : As we were leaving a staff meeting this morning, a colleague mumbled, "Well, that's the last nail in the coffin!" I checked the archive and found nothing. Any help on the origin? I can see it as being both positive and negative. Which is correct?

: : : Old wooden coffins were nailed down before burial. So the "last nail" is a negative -- the thing that finishes you off. "He got drunk at the office Christmas party. That was the last nail in his coffin."

: : : I'm trying to think of some positive sayings for the last step in a process. Anyone?

: : : Something along the lines of "the cherry on top of the sundae?"

: The icing on the cake. Dot the i's and cross the t's.

: And what's the expression about "marking 'paid'" or "put 'paid'" to something?

...finishing touch...coup de gras...