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Lady killer

Posted by Smokey Stover on April 18, 2008 at 21:04:

In Reply to: Lady killer posted by R. Berg on April 18, 2008 at 16:00:

: : Do you know why we use the term 'lady killer' to euphemise death?

: I don't believe we do. There are many euphemisms for death, but "lady killer" isn't among them. ~rb

Ladykiller is humorous slang for a man whom women find irresistible, or have a dangerous fascination for. Obviously it can be used sarcastically, for a would-be ladykiller. The Oxford English Dictionary offers a few examples using the term.

"1811 Ora & Juliet II. 197 Upwards of twenty sat down at table, amongst whom was the *lady killer, or Colonel Sackville. 1884 Graphic 4 Oct. 362/1 He had been a lady-killer in his day, and was by no means out of the hunt yet. 1825 C. M. WESTMACOTT Eng. Spy I. 192 *Ladykilling coterie. 1837 MARRYAT Dog-fiend li, 'Pretty lady-killing', muttered the sergeant. 1858 R. S. SURTEES Ask Mamma i. 2 Nature had favoured Billy's pretensions in the lady-killing way."

If you happen to be a reader of the comic strip, "Beetle Bailey," you will notice that one of his companions is called "Killer," plainly short inthis case for Ladykiller.

You can use the term literally, and say that some particular lady was killed by Death, if you care to personify death. But I've never seen such a use of the term.