27 Idioms for Death: The Inevitable


Death is a universal concept that has been explored and expressed in various ways throughout history.

One intriguing aspect is the use of idioms—phrases that convey a figurative meaning different from their literal interpretation.

In this article, we’ll delve into idioms for death, uncovering the meanings behind each expression and using them in sentences to provide a clearer picture.

idioms for death
IdiomMeaningSentence
Kick the BucketTo die or pass away.After a long and fulfilling life, Grandpa finally kicked the bucket peacefully in his sleep.
Bite the DustTo suffer defeat or fail.The old car finally bit the dust, leaving its owner in need of a new mode of transportation.
Meet One’s MakerTo die and face one’s creator in the afterlife.When the time comes, we’ll all have to meet our maker, but until then, let’s make the most of life.
Cash in One’s ChipsTo die, often with a sense of finality.Despite his illness, John faced his last days with courage, ready to cash in his chips.
Pushing Up DaisiesBuried in the ground, deceased.Long after we’re gone, our memories will live on even though our bodies are pushing up daisies.
Sleep with the FishesTo be dead and at the bottom of the sea.Criminals who betray their partners often end up sleeping with the fishes.
Join the Choir InvisibleTo be deceased and part of the afterlife.Believers find solace in the belief that their loved ones have joined the choir invisible.
Shuffle Off This Mortal CoilTo die or pass away.Facing a terminal illness, the old man bravely shuffled off this mortal coil.
Take the Last TrainTo die.As the elderly lady peacefully slept, she took the last train to the unknown.
Meet One’s EndTo reach the end of one’s life.Facing danger, the hero knew he might meet his end, but he pressed on nonetheless.
Go to the Big SleepTo die.In his final years, the actor often spoke of going to the big sleep with a smile on his face.
Go Six Feet UnderTo be buried in the ground.Once we go six feet under, the worries of this world will cease to exist.
Give Up the GhostTo die or cease to function.After years of faithful service, the old car finally gave up the ghost on the side of the road.
CroakTo die, often used informally.The ancient radio croaked its last song before falling silent forever.
Buy the FarmTo die.Some say when we buy the farm, it’s just our way of moving on to a bigger and better place.
Take a Dirt NapTo be buried in the ground.The old dog, loyal until the end, peacefully took a dirt nap in the backyard.
Depart This LifeTo die or pass away.As the sun set on her final day, she quietly departed this life surrounded by loved ones.
Check OutTo die or leave.Tired of the pain, he decided it was time to check out and find peace.
Go the Way of All FleshTo die, to experience mortality.No matter how powerful or famous, eventually, everyone must go the way of all flesh.
Go to One’s Eternal RestTo die and find eternal peace.May those we’ve lost go to their eternal rest, free from the struggles of life.
Go Belly UpTo fail or go out of business; used humorously for death.The old computer finally went belly up, leaving the user searching for a replacement.
Take a One-Way TripTo die with no return.The astronaut knew that exploring space was a one-way trip into the unknown.
Go to Davy Jones’ LockerTo die at sea.Sailors always faced the possibility of going to Davy Jones’ locker during treacherous voyages.
Fall Off the PerchTo die, often applied humorously to animals.The old parrot, after years of entertaining the family, finally fell off the perch.
Become Food for WormsTo be buried and decompose.Once we pass, our bodies become food for worms, returning to the cycle of nature.
Cross the StyxTo die; referencing the mythical river Styx.In ancient tales, heroes would cross the Styx to reach the afterlife.
Answer the Final SummonsTo die, as if summoned by a higher power.As we navigate through life, we never know when we’ll be called to answer the final summons.

Metaphors can help us talk about death in different ways, like comparing it to the closing of a book. For more metaphors related to death, you can check out this link: Metaphors for Death. Similarly, similes provide comparisons that can help us understand death better, such as describing it as peaceful as a sleeping baby. Explore additional similes for death here: Similes for Death.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

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Idioms for Death

1. Kick the Bucket

Meaning: To die or pass away.

In a Sentence: After a long and fulfilling life, Grandpa finally kicked the bucket peacefully in his sleep.

2. Bite the Dust

Meaning: To suffer defeat or fail.

In a Sentence: The old car finally bit the dust, leaving its owner in need of a new mode of transportation.

3. Meet One’s Maker

Meaning: To die and face one’s creator in the afterlife.

In a Sentence: When the time comes, we’ll all have to meet our maker, but until then, let’s make the most of life.

4. Cash in One’s Chips

Meaning: To die, often with a sense of finality.

In a Sentence: Despite his illness, John faced his last days with courage, ready to cash in his chips.

5. Pushing Up Daisies

Meaning: Buried in the ground, deceased.

In a Sentence: Long after we’re gone, our memories will live on even though our bodies are pushing up daisies.

6. Sleep with the Fishes

Meaning: To be dead and at the bottom of the sea.

In a Sentence: Criminals who betray their partners often end up sleeping with the fishes.

7. Join the Choir Invisible

Meaning: To be deceased and part of the afterlife.

In a Sentence: Believers find solace in the belief that their loved ones have joined the choir invisible.

8. Shuffle Off This Mortal Coil

Meaning: To die or pass away.

In a Sentence: Facing a terminal illness, the old man bravely shuffled off this mortal coil.

9. Take the Last Train

Meaning: To die.

In a Sentence: As the elderly lady peacefully slept, she took the last train to the unknown.

10. Meet One’s End

Meaning: To reach the end of one’s life.

In a Sentence: Facing danger, the hero knew he might meet his end, but he pressed on nonetheless.

11. Go to the Big Sleep

Meaning: To die.

In a Sentence: In his final years, the actor often spoke of going to the big sleep with a smile on his face.

12. Go Six Feet Under

Meaning: To be buried in the ground.

In a Sentence: Once we go six feet under, the worries of this world will cease to exist.

13. Give Up the Ghost

Meaning: To die or cease to function.

In a Sentence: After years of faithful service, the old car finally gave up the ghost on the side of the road.

14. Croak

Meaning: To die, often used informally.

In a Sentence: The ancient radio croaked its last song before falling silent forever.

15. Buy the Farm

Meaning: To die.

In a Sentence: Some say when we buy the farm, it’s just our way of moving on to a bigger and better place.

16. Take a Dirt Nap

Meaning: To be buried in the ground.

In a Sentence: The old dog, loyal until the end, peacefully took a dirt nap in the backyard.

17. Depart This Life

Meaning: To die or pass away.

In a Sentence: As the sun set on her final day, she quietly departed this life surrounded by loved ones.

18. Check Out

Meaning: To die or leave.

In a Sentence: Tired of the pain, he decided it was time to check out and find peace.

19. Go the Way of All Flesh

Meaning: To die, to experience mortality.

In a Sentence: No matter how powerful or famous, eventually, everyone must go the way of all flesh.

20. Go to One’s Eternal Rest

Meaning: To die and find eternal peace.

In a Sentence: May those we’ve lost go to their eternal rest, free from the struggles of life.

21. Go Belly Up

Meaning: To fail or go out of business; used humorously for death.

In a Sentence: The old computer finally went belly up, leaving the user searching for a replacement.

22. Take a One-Way Trip

Meaning: To die with no return.

In a Sentence: The astronaut knew that exploring space was a one-way trip into the unknown.

23. Go to Davy Jones’ Locker

Meaning: To die at sea.

In a Sentence: Sailors always faced the possibility of going to Davy Jones’ locker during treacherous voyages.

24. Fall Off the Perch

Meaning: To die, often applied humorously to animals.

In a Sentence: The old parrot, after years of entertaining the family, finally fell off the perch.

25. Become Food for Worms

Meaning: To be buried and decompose.

In a Sentence: Once we pass, our bodies become food for worms, returning to the cycle of nature.

26. Cross the Styx

Meaning: To die; referencing the mythical river Styx.

In a Sentence: In ancient tales, heroes would cross the Styx to reach the afterlife.

27. Answer the Final Summons

Meaning: To die, as if summoned by a higher power.

In a Sentence: As we navigate through life, we never know when we’ll be called to answer the final summons.

10 Quizzes About The Idiom in The Article


Quiz 1: Kick the Bucket

Question 1: What does the idiom “Kick the Bucket” mean?

  • a) To win a competition
  • b) To die or pass away
  • c) To exercise vigorously

Question 2: In which sentence is “Kick the Bucket” correctly used?

  • a) After acing the exam, she decided to kick the bucket.
  • b) Grandpa finally kicked the bucket peacefully in his sleep.
  • c) The team kicked the bucket in the championship game.

Quiz 2: Bite the Dust

Question 1: What does the idiom “Bite the Dust” mean?

  • a) To taste something unpleasant
  • b) To suffer defeat or fail
  • c) To enjoy a meal quickly

Question 2: In which sentence is “Bite the Dust” correctly used?

  • a) The chef bit the dust with his new recipe.
  • b) The old car finally bit the dust, leaving its owner in need of a new mode of transportation.
  • c) After a long day, she decided to bite the dust with a relaxing evening at home.

Quiz 3: Join the Choir Invisible

Question 1: What does the idiom “Join the Choir Invisible” mean?

  • a) To become a professional singer
  • b) To be part of a secret club
  • c) To be deceased and part of the afterlife

Question 2: In which sentence is “Join the Choir Invisible” correctly used?

  • a) The talented musician joined the choir invisible last night.
  • b) Believers find solace in the belief that their loved ones have joined the choir invisible.
  • c) The friends decided to join the choir invisible for a fun evening.

Quiz 4: Check Out

Question 1: What does the idiom “Check Out” mean?

  • a) To inspect something closely
  • b) To die or leave
  • c) To pay for a hotel room

Question 2: In which sentence is “Check Out” correctly used?

  • a) The librarian asked everyone to check out the new books.
  • b) Tired of the pain, he decided it was time to check out and find peace.
  • c) The cashier told the customer to check out at the counter.

Quiz 5: Fall Off the Perch

Question 1: What does the idiom “Fall Off the Perch” mean?

  • a) To slip and fall from a high place
  • b) To die, often applied humorously to animals
  • c) To quit a job suddenly

Question 2: In which sentence is “Fall Off the Perch” correctly used?

  • a) The cat fell off the perch but landed safely.
  • b) The old parrot, after years of entertaining the family, finally fell off the perch.
  • c) She decided to fall off the perch and pursue a different career.

Quiz 6: Take a Dirt Nap

Question 1: What does the idiom “Take a Dirt Nap” mean?

  • a) To sleep outdoors
  • b) To be buried in the ground
  • c) To avoid getting dirty

Question 2: In which sentence is “Take a Dirt Nap” correctly used?

  • a) After gardening, she decided to take a dirt nap.
  • b) The old dog, loyal until the end, peacefully took a dirt nap in the backyard.
  • c) He suggested taking a dirt nap to escape the summer heat.

Quiz 7: Go Six Feet Under

Question 1: What does the idiom “Go Six Feet Under” mean?

  • a) To hide from someone
  • b) To be buried in the ground
  • c) To explore deep caves

Question 2: In which sentence is “Go Six Feet Under” correctly used?

  • a) The archaeologist wanted to go six feet under to find ancient artifacts.
  • b) Once we go six feet under, the worries of this world will cease to exist.
  • c) She decided to go six feet under to avoid confrontation.

Quiz 8: Go to Davy Jones’ Locker

Question 1: What does the idiom “Go to Davy Jones’ Locker” mean?

  • a) To take a cruise vacation
  • b) To die at sea
  • c) To find hidden treasure

Question 2: In which sentence is “Go to Davy Jones’ Locker” correctly used?

  • a) The sailors set sail, hoping to go to Davy Jones’ Locker.
  • b) The pirates celebrated their successful voyage to Davy Jones’ Locker.
  • c) She planned to go to Davy Jones’ Locker for a relaxing weekend.

Quiz 9: Cross the Styx

Question 1: What does the idiom “Cross the Styx” mean?

  • a) To travel across a river
  • b) To die; referencing the mythical river Styx
  • c) To have a successful journey

Question 2: In which sentence is “Cross the Styx” correctly used?

  • a) The adventurer decided to cross the Styx to explore new lands.
  • b) In ancient tales, heroes would cross the Styx to reach the afterlife.
  • c) She hoped to cross the Styx and discover hidden treasures.

Quiz 10: Answer the Final Summons

Question 1: What does the idiom “Answer the Final Summons” mean?

  • a) To respond to a legal notice
  • b) To die, as if summoned by a higher power
  • c) To attend a farewell party

Question 2: In which sentence is “Answer the Final Summons” correctly used?

  • a) The lawyer advised her to answer the final summons promptly.
  • b) As we navigate through life, we never know when we’ll be called to answer the final summons.
  • c) The employee eagerly awaited the final summons for a promotion.

Conclusion

Idioms for death provide a unique lens through which cultures express the inevitability of life’s end. While these expressions may vary, they all point to a shared human experience—facing the unknown with a mix of acceptance, curiosity, and sometimes, a touch of humor.

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