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Nail in somebody's coffin

Posted by Smokey Stover on January 10, 2007

In Reply to: Nail in somebody's coffin posted by ESC on January 09, 2007

: : Can someone tell me the meaning and origin of idiom : nail in somebody's coffin. Thanks.

: A coffin -- a container for a dead body -- used to be made of wood and was sealed up with nails before burial. Another nail in somebody's coffin refers to an action, etc., that takes a person a step closer to death or some other unpleasant occurence like public disgrace.

It's not unusual for cigarettes to be referred to as "coffin nails." Sometimes an admonition or expression of disapproval is accompanied by a remark about "another nail in your coffin." Or "in his coffin." It's less rude to insult someone who is not present.