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The meaning and origin of the expression: Shuffle off this mortal coil

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Shuffle off this mortal coil

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From Hamlet's 'To be or not to be' speech in Shakespeare's Hamlet, 1602:

"What dreames may come, When we haue shufflel'd off this mortall coile, Must giue vs pawse."

Portrait of William ShakespeareIn Shakespeare's time 'coil', or coile', or coyle', meant 'fuss' or 'bustle'. That usage was recorded in Michael Drayton's Idea, the shepheards garland, 1593:

"You Will, and Will not, what a coyle is here?"

Shakespeare also used it prior to his 'mortal coil' expression, in King John, 1595:

"I am not worth this coyle that's made for me."

See other phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.