Idiom Category: Death, Page 1

Categories > Death
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At death's door
If someone looks as if they are at death's door, they look seriously unwell and might actually be dying.
At death's door
If someone is at death's door, they are very ill and close to death.
Bite the dust
This is a way of saying that somebody has died, especially if they are killed violently like a soldier in battle.
Breathe your last
When you breathe your last, you die.
Brush with death
If someone comes very close to dying but live, they have a brush with death.
Cheat death
If someone cheats death, they narrowly avoid a major problem or accident.
Dancing on someone's grave
If you will dance on someone's grave, you will outlive or outlast them and will celebrate their demise.
Dead and buried
If something is dead and buried, it has all long been settled and is not going to be reconsidered.
Dead as a doornail
This is used to indicate that something is lifeless.
Dead even
If people competing are dead even, they are at exactly the same stage or moving at exactly the same speed.
Dead in the water
If something is dead in the water, it isn't going anywhere or making any progress.
Dead level best
If you try your dead level best,  you try as hard as you possibly could to do something.
Dead man walking
A dead man walking is someone who is in great trouble and will certainly get punished, lose their job or position, etc, soon.
Dead meat
This is used as a way of threatening someone: You'll be dead meat if you don't go along.
Dead right
This means that something or someone is absolutely correct, without doubt.
Dead to the world
If somebody's fast asleep and completely unaware of what if happening around them, he or she's dead to the world.
Dead wrong
If someone is dead wrong, they are absolutely in error, absolutely incorrect or of incorrect opinion.
Death of a thousand cuts
If something is suffering the death of a thousand cuts, or death by a thousand cuts, lots of small bad things are happening, none of which are fatal in themselves, but which add up to a slow and painful demise.
Death warmed up
(UK) If someone looks like death warmed up, they look very ill indeed. ('death warmed over' is the American form)
Dice with death
If you do something that is very dangerous, you are dicing with death.
Done to death
If a joke or story has been done to death, it has been told so often that it has stopped being funny.
Fall on your sword
If someone falls on their sword, they resign or accept the consequences of some wrongdoing.
Fate worse than death
Describing something as a fate worse than death is a fairly common way of implying that it is unpleasant.
Gallows humour
If people try to make fun or laugh when things are very frightening, dangerous, life-threatening or hopeless, it is gallows humour (or "gallows humor").
Ghost of a chance
If something or someone hasn't got a ghost of a chance, they have no hope whatsoever of succeeding.
Ghost town
A ghost town is a town that has been abandoned or is in decline and has very little activity.
Ghostly presence
You can feel or otherwise sense a ghostly presence, but you cannot do it clearly only vaguely.
Give someone enough rope
If you give someone enough rope, you give them the chance to get themselves into trouble or expose themselves. (The full form is 'give someone enough rope and they'll hang themselves)
Give up the ghost
People give up the ghost when they die.  Machines stop working when they give up the ghost.
Grass widow
A grass widow is a woman whose husband is often away on work, leaving her on her own.
Graveyard shift
If you have to work very late at night, it is the graveyard shift.
It's your funeral
The other person has made a decision that you think is bad. However, it is their choice; it is their funeral.
Kill with kindness
If you kill someone with kindness, you are very kind, possibly excessively kind, to them.
Kiss of death
The kiss of death is an action that means failure or ruin for someone, a scheme, a plan, etc.
Knock 'em dead
'Knock 'em dead' is used as a way of wishing someone luck before they give a performance or have to appear before people, as in an interview, etc. ('em = them)
Know where all the bodies are buried
Someone who by virtue of holding a position of trust with an organization for a long period of time has come to know many of the secrets that others in more powerful positions would rather be kept secret knows where the bodies are buried. An implication is that the person knowing these secrets will use that knowledge to secure something of value for him- or herself.
Life and limb
When people risk life and limb, they could be killed or suffer serious injuries.
Matter of life and death
If something is a matter of life and death, it is extremely important.
Meet your Maker
If someone has gone to meet their Maker, they have died.
Murder will out
This idiom means that bad deeds can't be kept secret forever.
Nail in the coffin
A nail in someone or something's coffin is a problem or event that is a clear step towards an inevitable failure.
Never say die
When someone says "Never Say Die", it means that you shouldn't give up hope.
Over my dead body
If you say that something will happen over your dead body, you will not let it happen.
Pen is mightier than the sword
The idiom 'the pen is mightier than the sword' means that words and communication are more powerful than wars and fighting.
Sick to death
If you are sick to death of something, you have been exposed to so much of it that you cannot take any more.
Skeleton in the closet
If someone has a skeleton in the closet, they have a dark, shameful secret in their past that they want to remain secret.
Sticky end
(UK) If someone comes to a sticky end, they die in an unpleasant way. ('Meet a sticky end' is also used.)
Stone dead
This idiom is a way of emphasizing that there were absolutely no signs of life or movement.
Those who live by the sword die by the sword
This means that violent people will be treated violently themselves.
Watery grave
If someone has gone to a watery grave, they have drowned.

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