Idioms and Euphemisms for Death


The most common and gentlest easily-understandable euphemism used to announce that someone has died is passed away, passed on or simply passed. Anything stronger may give offence, anything more delicate may be misunderstood.

Below is a list of the many expressions used in English to talk about someone dying.  If you are not sure, don’t use any of them. Use this list as a guide for if you hear someone using them so that you know what they mean. These are words that can really cause offence and anguish if misused but are often used on television and in movies and books.

So if a man died you could say

  • he bit the dust
  • he bought the farm
  • he cashed in his chips
  • he gave up the ghost
  • he croaked
  • he kicked the bucket
  • he is pushing up daisies
  • he went to meet his maker
  • he has gone to the great beyond
  • he has gone to the happy hunting ground
  • he got his ticket punched
  • he cashed it in
  • he is taking the dirt nap
  • he met his maker
  • he is toes up.
  • Late (as in the ‘the late King George’)
  • he is worm food
  • he has shuffled off this mortal coil
  • he snuffed it
  • he is six feet under
  • he has gone to join the choir invisible
  • he is  in a better place
  • he is worm food or worm fodder
  • he woke up on the wrong side of the turf
  • he is fertilizer
  • he is being in Abraham’s bosom
  • he is sleeping the big sleep
  • he has gone to his reward
  • he has met his maker
  • he has gone to feed the fishes
  • he is maggot meal

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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