Friday, December 4, 2015

Twelve Terms of Death

We’ve all heard them - in fact, we’ve probably used them – those sometimes obscure references to death. The terms may be considered euphemistic, polite, even rather humorous slang, but they all indicate one thing - you’re “pushing up daisies.”

He came to a sticky end
This British phrase indicates that someone died in a rather unpleasant manner.

She’s as dead as a dodo
This was a popular phrase in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Dodos were a type of flightless bird that became extinct in the 17th century, so the saying indicates that someone is also “extinct” or gone.

He bit the big one
This expression is U.S. slang for having died: very popular in the 1970s.

She’s gone to that big ranch in the sky
The location of where the deceased went, in this case the “big ranch,” usually correlates with a place he or she visited in life.
Davy Jones Locker

He’s gone down to Davy Jones’ locker
Seamen used this phrase to indicate a sailor who drowned at sea, or a ship that went down in the ocean.

She’s shuffled off this mortal coil
This expression indicates that someone has rid themselves of their earthly troubles. Shakespeare used the phrase in Hamlet, “What dreams may come, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.”

He bought the farm
This slang phrase derives from a farmer having a life insurance policy. When the farmer died, the insurance paid off the remainder of his debt and “bought the farm” for his family.

She’s as dead as a doornail
Although the phrase dates back to at least the 14th century, Charles Dickens gets the main credit because it is the narrator in A Christmas Carol who says, “Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.” A doornail that has been bent is said to be “dead” – not usable. The expression indicates something, or someone, who is no longer of service.

He kicked the bucket
Believed to have come into use during the Middle Ages, this phrase was used when someone was hanged, and the bucket or stool on which they stood was moved, or kicked away.

She’s met her maker
A euphemistic expression indicating that the deceased has gone to meet God.

He’s six feet under
To be six feet under is to be dead and buried. Six feet is considered to be the common depth of a grave.

She’s pushing up daisies
Popular in the early 20th century, this expression was better known in the 1800's as “turning up one’s toes.” Regardless of the phrasing, it still meant someone was "dead and buried."

Now it’s time to “give up the ghost,” (which can mean ‘to die’, but it can also mean ‘to stop working’) and enjoy the weekend!
~ Joy

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