I am a Tombstone Tourist: someone who loves to wander cemeteries. I find it akin to visiting a museum: an opportunity to enjoy rarely seen sculpture, intricate carvings, and amazing architecture, all in a tranquil outdoor setting. This blog is about cemetery culture, art, history, issues of death, and genealogy - subjects of current relevance. I usually find something that intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper. Care to join me? Read on...
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
He came to a sticky end
British phrase indicates that someone died in a rather unpleasant manner.
She’s as dead as a dodo
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
expression is U.S. slang for having died: very popular in the 1970s.
She’s gone to that big
ranch in the sky
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
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
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
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
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
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
euphemistic expression indicating that the deceased has gone to meet God.
He’s six feet under
be six feet under is to be dead and buried. Six feet is considered to be the
common depth of a grave.
pushing up daisies
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."
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!