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This is a list of words and phrases related to death in alphabetical order. While some of them are slang, others euphemise the unpleasantness of the subject, or are used in formal contexts. Some of the phrases may carry the meaning of 'kill', or simply contain words related to death. Most of them are idioms.

Expression Definition Context Remarks
To answer the final summons [1] To die Euphemistic
Assume room temperature To die Euphemistic slang Used frequently by talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh on The Rush Limbaugh Show, generally when a dictator or an avowed enemy of the United States has died. Originally used in his first book, The Way Things Ought to Be. See also Jargon of The Rush Limbaugh Show.
At peace [2] Dead Euphemistic
To die with one's boots on[citation needed] To die while able, or during activity, as opposed to in infirmity or while asleep Euphemistic British; Cf Iron Maiden's Die With Your Boots On
At rest [2] Dead Polite
To bite the big one [3] To die Informal North American.
To bite the dust [3] To be killed Informal Also means 'failed'
To blow one's brains out To shoot someone in the head Slang
Beyond the grave [2] After death Neutral The preposition 'from' is often added before the phrase.
Beyond the veil [3] The mysterious place after death Neutral Originally used to refer to the 'veil' that hides the inmost sanctuary of the Temple in Jerusalem. Sometimes refers to just a mysterious place.
To breathe one's last [2] To die Literary
To buy the farm [3] To die Informal North American.
To cash in one's chips [3] To die Informal, Euphemistic [1] This idiom refers to the counters in gambling called 'chips', which are exchanged for cash at the end of the game.
To come to a sticky end [2] To die in a way that is considered unpleasant Humorous British. Also 'to meet a sticky end'
To count worms [1] To die Euphemistic
To croak [4] To kill Slang Also means to die
Dead as a dodo [3] Dead Informal The term 'dodo' originally comes from the Portuguese word duodo, meaning simpleton. It was applied to the extinct bird because of their lack of intelligence led to their extinction. Therefore, it has been used as an old-fashioned or stupid person since the nineteenth century.[3] Also 'dead as the dodo'.
Dead as a doornail [2] Obviously dead Informal Charles Dickens used this phrase at the beginning of A Christmas Carol.
To depart this life [2] To die Neutral
Done for [2] About to die Neutral Also means 'to be in a bad situation of which one cannot get out' [3]
Drop dead [2] Die suddenly Neutral 'Just drop dead' is a rude way of telling someone to get lost.
To go over the Big Ridge [5] To die Unknown
To be fading away [2] To be thinner and weaker and close to death Neutral Also 'to be fading fast' or 'sinking fast'
To fall off one's perch [6] To die Informal
Food for worms [3] Someone who is dead Neutral
To give up the ghost [3] To die Neutral Also means 'to stop working' or 'to give up hope'. The Old English meaning of the word 'ghost' is preserved in this idiom.
To go bung [3] To die Informal Australian. Also means 'to fail' or 'to go bankrupt'.
To go home in a box [7] To be shipped to one's birthplace, dead Slang, Euphemistic[1] Often exaggerated
To go to a Texas cakewalk [5] To be hanged Unknown
To go to Davy Jones's locker [3] To drown or otherwise die at sea Euphemistic Peregrine Pickle describes Davy Jones as 'the fiend that presides over all the evil sprits of the deep'.
To go to the last roundup [5] To die Unknown
To go the way of all flesh [3] To die Neutral Also means to come to an end. In the Authorized King James Version of the biblem 'all flesh' means 'all humans and animals'.
To go to one's reward [3] To die Euphemistic This phrase comes from the idea that people get their just deserts after they die.
To go to one's watery grave [2] To die of drowning Literary The death is referred to as a watery grave.
To go west [3] To be killed or lost Informal Refers to the sun setting at the west.
The Grim Reaper [3] Personification of death Cultural A skeleton with a scythe, often in a cloak
To hand in one's dinner pail [3] To die Informal A dinner pail is a bucket in which a workman used to carry his dinner. See 'kick the bucket' below.
To have bought it [2] To be killed Slang
To have one foot in the grave [3] To be close to death because of illness or age Informal, sometimes humorous Originates from BBC series One Foot in the Grave
To hop on the last rattler [1] To die Euphemistic
To hop the twig [3] To die Informal British. Also 'to hop the stick'. Also means 'to depart suddenly'.
One's hour has come [2] One thinks he's going to die Literary
On one's last legs [3] About to die Informal
In Abraham's bosom [3] In heaven Neutral From the Holy Bible, Luke 16:22.
To join the great majority [3] To die Euphemistic First used by Edward Young, but the phrase 'the majority' is extremely old.
To kick the bucket [3] To die Informal One theory says that it comes from a method of suicide of the Middle Ages in which one stands inside a bucket with a noose tied around their neck. Once they kick the bucket, they are hanged.[8] Another theory is the kind of beam from which a pig is suspended, which is also called a 'bucket' in the Norfolk dialect.[3] Also 'kick off' (American).[2]
To kick the calendar To die Slang, Informal Polish saying. 'Calendar' implies somebody's time of death (kicking at particular moment of time)
King of Terrors [3] Personification of death Neutral
To lose one's life [2] To die in an accident or violent event Neutral
To make the ultimate sacrifice [2] To die while fighting for a rule Formal Also 'make the supreme sacrifice'
To meet one's maker [3] To die Humorous, Euphemistic Comes from the Christian belief that a soul needs to see god, its 'maker', after his life for judgment.
Off the hooks [3] Dead Informal British. Not to be confused with 'off the hook' (no longer in trouble).
Not long for this world [2] Will die soon; have little time left to live Old-fashioned Also not be long for this world
One's number is up [2] One is going to die Slang
On one's deathbed [2] Dying Neutral
To pass away [2] To die Polite Also 'to pass on'
To pass in one's alley [3] To die Informal Australian
To pay the ultimate price [2] To die because of something one has done Neutral Often applied to a moral reason
To peg out [2] To die Slang British. Also means 'to stop working'
To pop one's clogs [3] To die Humorous[2], Informal[3] British.
To push up daisies [3] To die Humorous[2], Euphemistic[1] This idiom dates back to the early twentieth century. Also 'under the daisies' and 'turn one's toes up to the daisies, which date back to the mid nineteenth century. See 'to turn up one's toes' below.
To put one to the sword To kill someone Literary
To ride the pale horse [1] To die Euphemistic In the Biblical passage Revelation 6:8, a pale horse is ridden by Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The expression "behold a pale horse" has been used as the title of a 1964 film by Fred Zinnemann and a 1991 book by ufologist William Milton Cooper.
To send one to eternity To kill someone Literary
To shuffle off this mortal coil [2] To die Humorous, Literary[3] Quoted from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Sometimes used as 'this mortal coil' to refer to the fact that one is alive in a troublesome way.[3]
To be struck down[2] To be killed by an illness Neutral Usually passive
Six feet under [3] Dead Informal Six feet is the traditional depth of a grave
To snuff it [2] To die Informal British
To take a dirt nap [9] To die and be buried Slang
To take a last bow [1] To die Euphemistic
To take one's life [2] To kill someone Formal To take one's own life means to commit suicide.
To turn up one's toes [3] To die Informal An alternative of 'turn one's toes up to the daisies' (See 'push up daisies' above.)
Until one's dying day [2] As long as one lives Neutral
With one's last breath [2] Before one dies Literary


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Terry Deary, Horrible Histories:Wicked Words P.52-53
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai Oxford Dictionary of Idioms
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c
  6. ^ English Idioms in Use. In Use. Cambridge University Press. pp. 10. ISBN 0521789575. 
  7. ^ The Free Dictionary: Go home in a box
  8. ^ Terry Deary, Horrible Histories:Wicked Words, P.56
  9. ^

See also



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