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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 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 Dead Euphemistic
To die with one's boots on To die while able, or during activity, as opposed to in infirmity or while asleep Euphemistic British.
At rest Dead Polite
To bite the big one To die Informal North American.
To bite the dust To be killed Informal Also means 'failed'
To blow one's brains out To shoot someone in the head Slang
Beyond the grave After death Neutral The preposition 'from' is often added before the phrase.
Beyond the veil The mysterious place after death Neutral Originally used to refer to the 'veil' that hides the inmost sanctuary of the Temple in Jerusalemmarker. Sometimes refers to just a mysterious place.
To breathe one's last To die Literary
To buy the farm To die Informal North American.
To cash in one's chips To die Informal, Euphemistic 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 To die in a way that is considered unpleasant Humorous British. Also 'to meet a sticky end'
To count worms To die Euphemistic
To croak To kill Slang Also means to die
Dead as a dodo 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. Also 'dead as the dodo'.
Dead as a doornail Obviously dead Informal Charles Dickens used this phrase at the beginning of A Christmas Carol.
To depart this life To die Neutral
Done for About to die Neutral Also means 'to be in a bad situation of which one cannot get out'
Drop dead Die suddenly Neutral 'Just drop dead' is a rude way of telling someone to get lost.
To go over the Big Ridge To die Unknown
To be fading away To be thinner and weaker and close to death Neutral Also 'to be fading fast' or 'sinking fast'
To fall off one's perch To die Informal
Food for worms Someone who is dead Neutral
To give up the ghost 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 To die Informal Australian. Also means 'to fail' or 'to go bankrupt'.
To go home in a box To be shipped to one's birthplace, dead Slang, Euphemistic Often exaggerated
To go to a Texas cakewalk To be hanged Unknown
To go to Davy Jones's locker 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 To die Unknown
To go the way of all flesh 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 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 To die of drowning Literary The death is referred to as a watery grave.
To go west To be killed or lost Informal Refers to the sun setting at the west.
The Grim Reaper Personification of death Cultural A skeleton with a scythe, often in a cloak
To hand in one's dinner pail 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 To be killed Slang
To have one foot in the grave To be close to death because of illness or age Informal, sometimes humorous
To hop on the last rattler To die Euphemistic
To hop the twig To die Informal British. Also 'to hop the stick'. Also means 'to depart suddenly'.
One's hour has come One thinks he's going to die Literary
On one's last legs About to die Informal
In Abraham's bosom In heaven Neutral From the Holy Bible, Luke 16:22.
To join the great majority To die Euphemistic First used by Edward Young, but the phrase 'the majority' is extremely old.
To kick the bucket 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. Another theory is the kind of beam from which a pig is suspended, which is also called a 'bucket' in the Norfolk dialect. Also 'kick off' (Americanmarker).
King of Terrors Personification of death Neutral
To lose one's life To die in an accident or violent event Neutral
To make the ultimate sacrifice To die while fighting for a rule Formal Also 'make the supreme sacrifice'
To meet one's maker 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 Dead Informal British. Not to be confused with 'off the hook' (no longer in trouble).
Not long for this world Will die soon; have little time left to live Old-fashioned Also not be long for this world
One's number is up One is going to die Slang
On one's deathbed Dying Neutral
To pass away To die Polite Also 'to pass on'
To pass in one's alley To die Informal Australian
To pay the ultimate price To die because of something one has done Neutral Often applied to a moral reason
To peg out To die Slang British. Also means 'to stop working'
To pop one's clogs To die Humorous, Informal British.
To push up daisies To die Humorous, Euphemistic 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 To die Euphemistic
To send one to eternity To kill someone Literary
To shuffle off this mortal coil To die Humorous, Literary Quoted from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Sometimes used as 'this mortal coil' to refer to the fact that one is alive in a troublesome way.
To be struck down To be killed by an illness Neutral Usually passive
Six feet under Dead Informal Six feet is the traditional depth of a grave
To snuff it To die Informal British
To take a dirt nap To die and be buried Slang
To take a last bow To die Euphemistic
To take one's life To kill someone Formal To take one's own life means to commit suicide.
To turn up one's toes To die Informal An alternative of 'turn one's toes up to the daisies' (See 'push up daisies' above.)
Until one's dying day As long as one lives Neutral
With one's last breath Before one dies Literary


  1. Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary
  2. Oxford Dictionary of Idioms
  3. Terry Deary, Horrible Histories:Wicked Words P.52-53
  5. The Free Dictionary: Go home in a box
  7. Terry Deary, Horrible Histories:Wicked Words, P.56

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