Idioms related to Death: Death is what we call the end of the line for anyone. It is a serious word that has a lot of meanings to it. Similarly, the English language has idioms related to death to describe various situations. This article consists of a list of idioms related to death.
This article will help you to use idioms for loss during a conversation. For your better understanding, we have supported each idiom with its meanings and examples.
Enrich your Vocabulary by practicing the English Idioms that are commonly used in everyday conversations and understand their actual meaning.
Names of Idioms Related to Death
List of Idioms related to Death
- At death’s door
- Bite the dust
- Breathe your last
- Brush with death
- Cheat death
- Dancing on someone’s grave
- Dead and buried
- Dead as a doornail
- Dead in the water
- Dead level best
- Deadman walking
- Dead meat
- Dead right
- Dead to the world
- Dead wrong
- Death of a thousand cuts
- Death warmed up
- Dice with death
- Dig your own grave
- Done to death
- Fall on your sword
- Fate worse than death
- From the cradle to the grave
- Full Fathom Five
- Gallows humour
- Ghost of a chance
- Ghostly presence
- Give someone enough rope
- Give up the ghost
- Grass widow
- Graveyard shift
- It’s your funeral
- Kick the Bucket
- Kill with kindness
- Kiss of death
- Knock them dead
- Know where all the bodies are buried
- Life and limb
- Matter of life and death
- Meet your Maker
- Murder will out
- Nail in the coffin
- Never say die
- Over My Dead Body
- Pen is mightier than the sword
- Pushing Up Daisies
- Set in Stone
- Settle your affairs
- Sick to death
- Six Feet Under
- Skeleton in the closet
- Sleep with the Fishes
- Sticky end
- Those who live by the sword die by the sword
- Watery grave
- Whistle Past the Graveyard
- Your Number Is Up
Meaning and Examples of Idioms related to Death
At death’s door
Meaning: Extremely unwell or on the verge of death or ultimate destruction.
Example: Many areas of the environment are now at death’s door due to pollution’s consequences.
Bite the dust
Meaning: To die or to be on the verge of total failure or loss of usefulness.
Example: We were pretty fortunate to have avoided that massive accident—we could have bitten the dust.
Breathe your last
Meaning: Breathing your last breath.
Example: My four siblings and I had to determine what to do with our parents’ property when they breathed their last.
Brush with death
Meaning: An experience in which one comes dangerously close to death.
Example: Since my brush with death in the accident, I have placed higher importance on my life.
Meaning: Avoiding a significant problem or accident by a hair’s breadth.
Example: Believe it or not, he cheats death after that significant accident.
Dancing on someone’s grave
Meaning: To rejoice in that individual’s death, to be relieved that person has died.
Example: John was so jealous of him that he danced on his grave.
Dead and buried
Meaning: Completely gone or inactive.
Example: Oh, that concept from last week’s meeting is now dead and buried, thanks to the CEO’s veto.
Dead as a doornail
Meaning: Completely defunct.
Example: I poked that squirrel with a stick, and it’s dead as a doornail.
Dead in the water
Meaning: Unable to perform properly
Example: The project has run out of finances and is currently dead in the water.
Dead level best
Meaning: Trying as hard as one can to accomplish anything.
Example: John gave his dead-level best to achieve the first rank in the exams.
Meaning: Any man who is on the verge of death or sure to die.
Example: They just found out I have cancer, and it has spread to my lymph nodes—I’m a dead man walking.
Meaning: The intended victim of impending violence or ill will.
Example: If my brother discovers us tampering with his belongings, we’ll be dead meat!
Meaning: Without a doubt, something or someone is correct.
Example: The inspector was dead right about the suspect for the crime.
Dead to the world
Meaning: Sleeping exceptionally well.
Example: Don’t worry, the vacuum won’t wake him up; he’s dead to the world.
Meaning: Completely incorrect.
Example: If you believe I will do your tasks for you, you are dead wrong, buddy!
Death of a thousand cuts
Meaning: How a sizeable unfavourable change that occurs gradually in numerous undetectable steps is not viewed as unacceptable
Example: Their retail network is dying by a thousand cuts—it was profitable as recently as 2012, but they’ve experienced a string of setbacks since then.
Death warmed up
Meaning: A state or appearance of severe illness.
Example: I think you should consult a doctor because you look like death warmed up!
Dice with death
Meaning: To take a particularly risky or dangerous action.
Example: Of course, he’s riding his motorcycle in the pouring rain—always he’s dicing with death.
Dig your own grave
Meaning: To conduct something that has or will have predictable unfavourable consequences.
Example: By declining the promotion, I’m concerned I’m digging my own grave.
Done to death
Meaning: Doing or repeating something so frequently that it becomes tedious or undesirable.
Example: Chocolates and rose bouquets have been done to death, so I thought I’d get you something a little different for Valentine’s Day.
Fall on your sword
Meaning: Accepting accountability or blame for an issue or blunder.
Example: When someone revealed substantial corruption in the company, the CEO fell on her sword.
Fate worse than death
Meaning: A hyperbolic term referring to a harrowing circumstance or encounter.
Example: I appreciate Gina inviting me to the theatre, but listening to those opera singers would be a fate worse than death.
From the cradle to the grave
Meaning: enduring the entirety of life, existence, or a given process
Example: She’s been my best friend since we were babies, so I’m confident we’ll be together from the cradle to the death.
Full Fathom Five
Meaning: Being lost deep in the sea.
Example: Yesterday, there was a tragic boat accident. Many people, I’m afraid, are lost in full fathom five.
Meaning: sarcastic and sinister humour
Example: Jim has gallows humour and would always end up saying the wrong things at the wrong places.
Ghost of a chance
Meaning: A remote yet improbable prospect.
Example: When I learned that a Harvard graduate had applied for the same position, I felt like I don’t have a ghost of a chance.
Meaning: A mysterious yet palpable and generally malevolent presence, attendance, or existence.
Example: Even though the country had finally attained a period of calm, the ghostly presence of its violent history hung heavily on the residents’ thoughts.
Give someone enough rope
Meaning: It is not necessary to interfere to bring about someone’s demise.
Example: Please do not interrupt him with questions. Allow him to continue speaking, and he will incriminate himself. Give him enough rope to see what happens.
Give up the ghost
Meaning: To die or stop working.
Example: According to what the nurses are saying, Great Uncle Edmund will give up the ghost sooner rather than later.
Meaning: A woman separated from her spouse for extended periods due to her employment or other causes.
Example: Since her husband began campaigning for politics, the politician’s wife has become a grass widow.
Meaning: A work shift that takes place late at night.
Example: I’m a morning person; therefore, I’d never been able to work the graveyard shift like you.
It’s your funeral
Meaning: A threat implying that doing or not doing something would have adverse effects.
Example: It’s Billy’s funeral if he enters my room when I’m not there.
Kick the Bucket
Meaning: To die or stop working altogether.
Example: I had this truck for about 30 years until it eventually kicked the bucket.
Kill with kindness
Meaning: To cause injury, inconvenience, or irritate someone by showing them undue favour or compassion.
Example: I enjoy chatting to Grandma, but she calls me twice a day to see how I’m doing—killing she’s me with kindness right now.
Kiss of death
Meaning: An action, occurrence, or association that is doomed to failure or ruin.
Example: The company’s ties to the discredited media mogul will almost certainly be its kiss of death.
Knock them dead
Meaning: To astonish someone.
Example: The judges will be knocked dead by your design. They’re going to fall in love with it.
Know where all the bodies are buried
Meaning: Knowing a vast amount of hidden or scandalous information about a person or group that they would not want to be disclosed, mainly because of one’s long experience with that person or group.
Example: He rose to power by working for various high-ranking government and military figures and knowing where all the bodies were buried.
Life and limb
Meaning: One’s physical well-being, up to and including death.
Example: Today, we remember the brave men and women who risk their lives and limbs every day to keep our country safe.
Matter of life and death
Meaning: Something severe.
Example: This top-secret project is a matter of life and death; thus, every piece of information contained inside it must be correct.
Meet your Maker
Meaning: To be dead
Example: I don’t want to meet my maker today, so please slow down!
Murder will out
Meaning: Atrocities, including murder, cannot be repressed, ignored, or go unnoticed indefinitely.
Example: Though the culprit has eluded us thus far, murder will out, and the perpetrator of these horrific murders will be apprehended at some point.
Nail in the coffin
Meaning: An event, decision, action, or another occurrence that can or will result in the failure or discontinuation of something.
Example: That class action lawsuit could be the final nail in the coffin of a firm that has already been dogged by criticism.
Never say die
Meaning: Never give up or submit.
Example: Never say die, no matter how many things go wrong—we’ll find a way to do this on time.
Over My Dead Body
Meaning: That will not happen under any circumstances.
Example: You’re going to drive home after drinking over my dead body!
Pen is mightier than the sword
Meaning: A powerful, eloquent, or well-crafted speech or writing has a more significant impact on many people than force or violence.
Example: The writer has harnessed the voices of millions of people through his highly successful online campaign to have the government stop its violent intervention in the region, proving that the pen is mightier than the sword.
Pushing Up Daisies
Meaning: To have died.
Example: When Mom finds out you dented her brand-new car, you’ll be pushing up daisies.
Set in Stone
Meaning: Putting something in place. Usually refers to a plan or an idea.
Example: Remember that these blueprints are only intended to give you a general idea of the design; they are not set in stone.
Settle your affairs
Meaning: To take care of one’s unfinished business or financial concerns.
Example: A third-party liquidator will come in and settle our affairs when we declare voluntary liquidation.
Sick to death
Meaning: Extremely tired of, bored with, or exasperated with someone or something.
Example: I was excited about this graduate degree when I first started, but I must say that I’ve become sick to death of these tedious lectures.
Six Feet Under
Meaning: Someone gone and buried.
Example: Hoarding all that money, in my opinion, will do you no good until you’re six feet under.
Skeleton in the closet
Meaning: A humiliating or embarrassing secret.
Example: If you have a skeleton in your closet, it will most likely be uncovered during this campaign.
Sleep with the Fishes
Meaning: Being murdered and having one’s body dumped in a river, lake, or ocean.
Example: Make sure that the snitch sleeps with the fishes before he is called to testify in court.
Meaning: A dreadful lot or death
Example: It is sad to know that he had to go through a sticky end after living such a fun life.
Meaning: to bring things to a complete halt or end
Example: Many people predicted that the rise of digital media formats would kill physical media stone dead, but history has shown that people’s desire to collect and possess something outright often overcomes their need for convenience.
Those who live by the sword die by the sword
Meaning: Those who adopt a path of violence against others should expect violence and harm to befall them.
Example: Young guys in this city who become involved in gang violence have the shortest lifespans of anyone in the state. True, those who live by the sword will die by the sword.
Meaning: A location underwater where someone sank to death.
Example: I need to get some rest before we hit the road again. The last thing I want to do is fall asleep at the wheel and put us all in a watery grave.
Whistle Past the Graveyard
Meaning: To hide one’s anxiety beneath a calm attitude.
Example: Nobody is entirely calm before a game of this magnitude. I’m sure he’s only whistling past the graveyard to impress the other guys.
Your Number Is Up
Meaning: It is time for someone to die, suffer, or be punished.
Example: This evidence establishes that the senator was a participant in the scheme. This time, his number is up.