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Vocabulary Books

Idioms and Sayings About Life and Death

Idiom/Saying
Explanation

To have a bun in the oven.

For example:-

I didn't know whether she had a bun in the oven, or she'd just put on weight.

To be pregnant.

Davy Jones' locker

For example:-

Everyone on the ship drowned, they're in Davy Jones' locker now.

Davy Jones is the nickname for the devil of the sea. Davy Jones' locker means the bottom of the sea or ocean - the resting place of drowned sailors. It is used as a euphemism for death at sea.

Over my dead body.

For example:-

When I asked my mum if I could have my ears pierced she replied, "Over my dead body!"

An expression of defiance. If you say that something will happen over your dead body, you mean that you will do anything to prevent it

From the cradle to the grave.

For example:-

The National Health Service (NHS) has two guiding principles. Firstly, that such a service should be comprehensive, with all citizens receiving all the advice, treatment and care they needed, combined with the best medical and other facilities available. Secondly, that the service should be free to the public at the point of use, from the cradle to the grave.

The whole of your life.

Dead in the water

For example:

Eventually they had to accept that the whole project was dead in the water.

Something that has failed and it seems impossible that it will be successful in the future.

Dead set against

For example:

"Her parents were dead set against her moving to London."

To be completely opposed to something.

At death's door.

For example:

I was sad to read that Nelson Mandella was at death's door.

To be very close to death.

A brush with death.

For example:-

Sometimes a brush with death forces us to re-evaluate our priorities in life.

To narrowly miss dying.

Cheat death

For example:-

An eccentric British pilot cheated death after crash-landing in the shark-infested waters of the Caribbean.

To avoid a possibly fatal event or prolong your life in spite of considerable odds.

Death warmed up

For example:-

She was so pale she looked like death warmed up.

Used when someone looks very ill.

Death wish

For example:

He keeps taking risks. It's almost as if he has a death wish.

Desire for death.

A dead duck

For example:-

"The police admitted that they were giving up, the case was a dead duck."

A failure.

It's your funeral

For example:-

He's going out tonight, but if he doesn't meet the deadline he'll lose his job. I guess it's his funeral.

We say this when someone makes a decision that you don't agree with.

To get hitched

For example:-

Miquepani got hitched on Friday 13th.

To get married.

Honeymoon period.

For example:-

The new CEO is enjoying a honeymoon period. None of the shareholders critisized him.

A short period of time when starting something new, when no one criticizes you.

The honeymoon is over.

For example:-

The latest figures were very bad and the shareholders are calling for his resignation. I guess the honeymoon is over.

The time when after starting something new (a job etc.) people start to critisize you (see Honeymoon period).

A dogs life

For example:

I've got to go to work, then do the shopping, then pick the children up from school and cook their dinner - it's a dog's life!

Life is hard and unpleasant.

A fact of life

For example:

An unpleasant fact or situation which people accept because they cannot change it.

Stress is a fact of life.

Half dead

For example:

After doing all my chores I was half dead.

Extremely tired.

Like death warmed up.

For example:

He went home with the flu. He looked like death warmed up.

To look very ill or tired.

Large as life

For example:

I looked up and there he was, as large as life, Elvis Presley!

Used to escribe a person you see, and are surprised to see, in a particular place.

Lead a double life

For example:

For years he led a double life as an agent for the intelligence services.

To have a second, secret life that is usually not socially acceptable.

Shelf life

For example:

Fresh milk has a short shelf life.

The length of time that a product, especially food, can be kept in a shop before it becomes too old to be sold or used.

Marry in haste, repent at leisure.

For example:-

She suddenly realised she didn't even like him that much, but you know what they say, "marry in haste, repent at leisure."

If you get married too soon, you will regret it.

The pearly gates.

For example:

We all end up standing at the pearly gates.

The entrance to heaven.

To tie the knot.

For example:-

Miquepani tied the knot on Friday 13th.

To get married.

Idioms for dying

To bite the dust.
To breath your last.
To buy the farm.
To croak.
To drop off the twig.
To kick the bucket.
To meet your maker.
To pass away.
To pass on.
To peg out.
To pop your clogs.
To shuffle off this mortal coil.
To snuff it.

Idioms for being dead

Dead as a dodo.
Dead as a doornail.
Lookin' at the other side of the grass.
Pushing up daisies.
Six feet under.

Idioms about getting married

To tie the knot.
To get hitched.

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