English idioms about death

Today we are continuing our learning with a blog post about Halloween, which is held on October 31st, with a series of idioms, which are slightly more gloomy than usual: idioms about death!

Also, during this time not only is Halloween celebrated, but in countries with Catholic traditions, All Saints Day is celebrated (November 1st), in which the dead are remembered and worshipped.

Death in our culture is often seen as a taboo topic of discussion, for this reason we have a series of lighter, less blunt expressions about death, that may make light of a gloomy situation.

Today we are going to look at a number of idiomatic expressions which all mean the same thing: to die.

To be at peace / rest

Tone: euphemistic

Meaning: To finally be at peace or find peace from the life you have lived when you die.

To buy the farm

Tone: casual

Meaning: In the past if a farmer had died and life had had insurance, this served to “buy” the farm once he was deceased.

To breathe your last breath

Tone: literary

Meaning: Literally it means to take your last breath of air before you die.

To cash in your chips

Tone: casual

Meaning: In gambling, the last thing you do is “cash in”  the chips you’ve won to receive your money.

To kick the bucket

Tone: casual

Meaning: It comes from the practice of executing prisoners by making them climb a bucket to pass access noose.

To depart this life

Tone: Neutral

Meaning: To leave this life, when you die.

To go to a better place

Tone: euphemistic

Meaning: to go to a better place than the Earth possibly “heaven”, when you die.

To go to your reward

Tone: euphemistic

Meaning: In some religions and cults it is assumed that after death, you are rewarded for the actions did in your past life. “Reward” is a prize  or a compensation in exchange for one’s actions.

To take a last bow

Tone: euphemistic.

Meaning:To bow means you acknowledge, greet or pay respect to someone leaning upper body forward, often at the end of a show or performance.

If these expressions have scared you, then we apologise. If you’d like to continue learning more English, you can do so by signing up to the ABA English course.




  1. Hello. Many thanks 🙂 Useful article!.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *