Death is an inevitable part of life, and it is something that we all must come to terms with at some point.
The way we talk about death and dying can be just as important as the way we talk about life and living.
Idioms are an integral part of our language, and they provide us with a way to express ourselves in a creative and nuanced way.
In this blog post, we will explore a diverse range of idioms that are used to describe dying.
From the familiar to the obscure, we will delve into the meanings and origins of each idiom and discuss how they can help us to understand and cope with the complexity of death
30 Idioms for Dying
- “Kick the bucket”: This idiomatic phrase is used to describe dying and it’s origin is uncertain, but one theory is that it comes from the phrase “to kick the beam” in reference to a beam that supports a bucket used to draw water from a well. When someone “kicks the bucket,” they are no longer able to support themselves and thus “die.”
- “Bite the dust”: This phrase is used to describe someone who has been defeated or killed. It may have originated from the Bible (Psalm 72:9) “They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.”
- “Cash in one’s chips”: This phrase comes from gambling, specifically the practice of cashing in one’s chips at a casino when they are done playing. The idiomatic meaning is to die, as if one’s chips represent their life.
- “Meet one’s maker”: This phrase refers to the person who created someone and is often used in reference to death.
- “Push up daisies”: This phrase refers to the idea of someone being buried and their grave being covered in daisies.
- “Breathe one’s last”: This phrase refers to taking one’s last breath, the final act of life before death.
- “Pass away”: This phrase is a more formal and polite way to say someone has died.
- “Croak”: This phrase is a slang term for dying, it likely comes from the sound that a frog makes.
- “Buy the farm”: This phrase is another way of saying dying, it may have originated from the idea of someone purchasing a farm, which would mean they are settling down, implying they are going to stay in one place permanently, i.e dying
- “Go to the great beyond”: This phrase refers to death and the idea of an afterlife.
- “Go to a better place”: This phrase is used to express the idea that death is not necessarily a bad thing because the person who has died has gone to a better place.
- “Join the choir invisible”: This phrase comes from a poem by George Eliot, it’s meaning is quite similar to “go to a better place” expressing that death is not the end of life but rather the beginning of another.
- “Leave this mortal coil”: This phrase is used to refer to the end of one’s life on earth. It comes from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, where the Prince speaks of the “bare bodkin” (meaning a dagger), as a means to “shuffle off this mortal coil”
- “Escape the rat race”: This phrase is used to describe the idea that death is a release from the stress and struggle of daily life, often compared to a race where the rats are the participants.
- “Go to sleep”: This phrase is used to express the idea that death is like a long sleep from which one does not wake up.
- “Give up the ghost”: This phrase is used to describe the act of dying and the moment when the spirit leaves the body. It may have its roots in the Bible, where the phrase “he giveth up the ghost” is used to describe death.
- “Check out”: This phrase is often used casually to describe dying. It is likely derived from the practice of checking out of a hotel at the end of a stay.
- “Expire”: This term is a more formal way to say that someone has died. It refers to the end of something, such as a contract or a membership, and is often used to describe the end of one’s life.
- “Leave this world”: This phrase is used to describe death, with the idea that the person has left the physical world and gone on to the next.
- “Depart”: This word is a polite and formal way of saying that someone has died.
- “Pass on”: This phrase is used to describe the act of dying, and often implies that the person has moved on to a different place or state of being.
- “Go to glory”: This phrase is used to describe death, with the idea that the person has gone on to a glorious afterlife.
- “Fade away”: This phrase is used to describe the gradual decline and eventual death of a person, similar to a flower that fades.
- “Leave behind”: This phrase is used to describe the act of dying and the fact that the person is no longer present in this world.
- “Pass into history”: This phrase is used to describe death and implies that the person will be remembered in history.
- “Join the ancestors”: This phrase is used to describe death in some cultures, and the idea that the person has gone on to join the spirits of their ancestors.
- “Leave life’s stage”: This phrase is used to describe death, with the idea that the person has finished their role in life and left the stage.
- “Rise to the heavens”: This phrase is used to describe death, with the idea that the person’s soul has risen to heaven.
- “Leave a legacy”: This phrase is used to describe death, with the idea that the person’s deeds and actions will be remembered and continue to have an impact after they have gone.
- “Come to the end”: This phrase is used to describe death, with the idea that the person has reached the final point in their life and their journey is complete.
In conclusion, idioms for dying offer a way for us to talk about death and dying in a creative and nuanced way.
From the grim “kick the bucket” to the more uplifting “Go to a better place,” these idioms provide us with a wide range of options for expressing our feelings and thoughts about death.
Understanding the meaning and origins of these idioms can also help us to gain a deeper understanding of death and its place in our lives and culture.
They can also serve as a reminder that death is a natural and universal part of life, and that it can be spoken of and approached in many ways, as well as to cope with it in a healthy way.
Idioms for dying also remind us that death is not something to be feared, but rather embraced as an inevitable part of life. In the end, it is important to remember that death is not the end, but rather a new beginning.
Each idiom for dying is unique, and it’s important to find the one that resonates with us the most as we navigate our own journey through life and death.