Idioms related to Death | List of Idioms related to Death With Meaning and Examples

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

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.

Cheat death

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.

Related death idiom 1


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.

Dead meat

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!

Dead right

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.

Dead wrong

Meaning: Completely incorrect.

Example: If you believe I will do your tasks for you, you are dead wrong, buddy!

Related Death Idioms 2

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.

Gallows humour

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.

Ghostly presence

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.

Grass widow

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.

Graveyard shift

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.

Sticky end

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.

Watery grave

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.

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