Death Idioms

Death is a universal experience that has inspired countless idioms across cultures and languages. These expressions can be used to convey a range of emotions and attitudes towards death, from fear and sadness to acceptance and even humor. In this page, we will explore some common death idioms and their meanings, origins, and usage.

List of Idioms and Sayings about Death

  • Full Fathom Five
  • Kick the Bucket
  • Over My Dead Body
  • Pop One’s Clogs
  • Pushing Up Daisies
  • Set in Stone
  • Six Feet Under
  • Sleep with the Fishes
  • Swim with the Fishes
  • Whistle Past the Graveyard
  • Your Number Is Up
  • Bite the dust
  • Buy the farm
  • Cash in one’s chips
  • Cross the Great Divide
  • Dance with the Grim Reaper
  • Give up the ghost
  • Hand in one’s dinner pail
  • Meet one’s maker
  • Shuffle off this mortal coil

Death Idioms and Sayings | Image

Death Idioms: 10+ Idioms and Sayings about Death

Death Idioms with Meaning

Idiom Meaning
Full Fathom Five A line from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” is often used to mean something is lost at sea or dead.
Kick the Bucket To die.
Over My Dead Body Something will only happen if I’m dead and gone; used to express strong opposition.
Pop One’s Clogs A British idiom meaning to die.
Pushing Up Daisies To be dead and buried.
Set in Stone To be fixed or unchangeable, often not related to death.
Six Feet Under To be dead and buried.
Sleep with the Fishes To be dead is typically used in the context of mob violence.
Swim with the Fishes To be dead, similar to “sleep with the fishes.”
Whistle Past the Graveyard To remain cheerful in a dire situation; to suppress one’s fears.
Your Number Is Up Your time is over; often used to mean death is imminent.
Bite the dust To die or fail.
Buy the farm To die, especially in an accident or military action.
Cash in one’s chips To die; to settle one’s affairs and accept the inevitable.
Cross the great divide To die.
Dance with the Grim Reaper To be close to death or in a dangerous situation.
Give up the ghost To die; to cease functioning.
Hand in one’s dinner pail An old-fashioned term meaning to die.
Meet one’s maker To die and face God or one’s fate in the afterlife.
Shuffle off this mortal coil To die; is a phrase from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

Death Idioms with Examples

Idiom Example Sentences
Full Fathom Five The ship sank and now it’s full fathom five on the ocean floor.
Kick the Bucket The phrase “kick the bucket” is a colloquial way to say someone has died.
Over My Dead Body She said they would get her family home over her dead body, showing her strong opposition.
Pop One’s Clogs He’s getting old, but he jokes about not being ready to pop his clogs just yet.
Pushing Up Daisies The old outlaw movies often had characters who ended up pushing up daisies.
Set in Stone Though not directly about death, “set in stone” implies something is permanent, much like death.
Six Feet Under After a long battle with illness, he is now at peace, six feet under.
Sleep with the Fishes He crossed the wrong people and now he’s sleeping with the fishes.
Swim with the Fishes If you don’t pay back the loan, you’ll be swimming with the fishes.
Whistle Past the Graveyard She whistled past the graveyard, trying to hide her fear.
Your Number Is Up When your number is up, there’s nothing you can do; it’s your time to go.
Bite the Dust Many fighters in the ring have bitten the dust, but he refuses to give up.
Buy the Farm He always said if he bought the farm, he’d want to leave his land to his family.
Cash in One’s Chips After a long life, it was time for him to cash in his chips.
Cross the Great Divide She lived a good life before crossing the great divide.
Dance with the Grim Reaper He had a dangerous job, often joking he danced with the Grim Reaper every day.
Give up the Ghost After years of reliable service, my laptop finally gave up the ghost and wouldn’t turn on.
Hand in One’s Dinner Pail He worked hard his entire life before finally handing in his dinner pail last winter.
Meet One’s Maker After a life full of adventure, he met his maker at the ripe old age of 95.
Shuffle off This Mortal Coil After years of battling a chronic illness, the brave young woman finally shuffled off this mortal coil.