Euphemisms for Death/dead/to die

  • At room temperature
  • Dirt nap
  • Pushing up the daisies
  • Passed...(over, on, away, etc)
  • Deceased
  • Ex-
  • Stone dead
  • Demised
  • Ceased to be
  • No more
  • Expired
  • Gone to meet their maker
  • Stiff
  • Bereft of life
  • Resting in peace
  • Off the twig
  • Kicked the bucket
  • Shuffled off the mortal coil
  • Run down the curtain
  • Joined the choir invisible
  • That good night
  • In a better place (via Odysseus)
  • Six feet under (via Odysseus)
  • Crossed over (via Odysseus)
  • Crossed the bar (via Odysseus)
  • Crossed the River Styx (via Odysseus)
  • Wandering the Elysian Fields (via Odysseus)
  • Paid Charon's fare (via Odysseus)
  • Sleeping with the fishes (via Buddy)
  • Bought the farm
  • asleep
  • belly up
  • bloodless
  • buried
  • cadaverous
  • checked out
  • cold
  • cut off
  • defunct
  • departed
  • done for
  • erased
  • extinct
  • gone
  • inanimate
  • late
  • lifeless
  • liquidated
  • mortified
  • offed
  • perished
  • in repose
  • rubbed out
  • snuffed out
  • wasted
  • lost
  • be taken
  • bump off
  • buy it
  • cash in (or out)
  • check out
  • conk
  • croak
  • Dance the last dance
  • eat it
  • finished
  • Gone into the west
  • Kicked off
  • Got a one-way ticket
  • Popped off
  • Snuffed
  • Sprouted wings
  • Succumbed
  • No longer with us (via shan2001)
  • Dirt (via Grandpa_chum)
  • Ashes to ashes, dust to dust (via Stumpy)
  • Return to the ground
  • In Hell (or Heaven)
  • With the ancestors
  • Gathered to his people
  • Give up the ghost
  • In the grave
  • Executed
  • Wacked
  • Terminated
  • Put down
  • "going to the big ___(whatever) in the sky" (via frenzee)
  • Destroyed, As in "to destroy dogs" (via Russa03)
  • Worm food (via Russa03)
  • Fragged (via Russa03)
  • Buy a pine condo (via Bertie)
  • Go into the fertilizer business (via Bertie)
  • Become living-challenged (via Bertie)
  • Carked (it) (via ThereThere)
  • T.U./Toes up/tits up/tango uniform
  • get your wings
Author Comments: 

Inspired by Monty Python's Dead Parrot sketch.

I should say instead that these are euphemisms, not just nicknames. And that the list was originally inspired by David Poland's expectations for the Fall '05 movie season.

In a better place
Six feet under
Crossed over
Crossed the bar
Crossed the River Styx
Wandering the Elysian Fields
Paid Charon's fare.


No matter the euphemism, John Cleese (re: Graham Chapman) laughs in the face of death. (WARNING: Two naughty bits.)

Hysterical!! I'd never seen that. Thank you very much for sharing.

How about "sleeping wit da fishes"?

Good one!

"no longer with us"- although that's kinda obvious :)

No, it's OK. Death is pretty obvious, most of the time.

my father always said he/she/it 'is DIRT now'... not sure if thats a euphimism, but dirt is always been my favorite way to describe the deceased.

That's right. Six months after we're dead, we all look alike.

...ashes to ashes, dust to dust...?

You are quoting from the English burial service that refers to the Biblical concept that we are created from the dust of the earth (Genesis 3:19--"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.)

Correct you are. I guess I was stretching the synonym concept a little too far, perhaps making the term more personal and thus less amusing.

Yes, I suppose so. I'm looking for amusing or ironic ways we avoid confronting the painful truth.

Don't forget "going to the big ___(whatever) in the sky"


To be pedantic, these are euphemisms, not nicknames. On the word 'euphemism' and its converse, see here.

If I may, here is a fascinating list of 1592 euphemisms for 'vomit'. I'm delighted to see that "call Bert" is one of them.

OMG! hahaha... the chunder from down under and gargling the gouda! I gotta use those

Love it! Thanks.

"Pushing up the daisies"
"Destroyed". As in "to destroy dogs"
"Worm food"

Thanks! I had the daisies one, but I'll add the others.

Here's some good one's I stole from the web:

Buy a pine condo.
Go into the fertilizer business.
Become living-challenged.

I like those.

Hmm...this list hasn't been updated in a while, about "cark" as in "to cark it", or "(insert name here) has carked it".

Good one! I'll add it. Thanks for the great link, too.

Well, this certainly ended up being longer than I'd planned... a lot longer.
The Ozziddi King is dead... his throne sits empty.

Sonny Okosuns, a pioneer of Nigerian music, died on May 24 in Washington, DC. He passed over just four days after seeing his daughter graduate from Pace University. This loss leaves a huge hole in the history of African music. He was 61 years-old...

Born New Year's Day, 1947, he started his first band, The Postmen, when he was just 17. Heavily influenced by Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Cliff Richard and the like, the band did poorly and Okosuns soon joined Sir Victor Uwaifo's band. Okosuns was the one who sang the soul-influenced copyrighted songs with the band during concert performances.

Okosuns formed another band, Paperback Ltd, in 1972. In the wake of Nigeria's Civil War the band performed folk-influenced liberation and unity songs. After changing their name to Ozziddi the band released their first album, Ozizddism, in 1976. It featured the hit song "Help." There were (false) rumours that he had stolen the song. This was because someone else sang the English vocals. I personally think the fact that he sang copyrighted songs while with Sir Victor helped give these rumours currency.

The next year's Fire in Soweto LP, with the songs "Revolution," "Steady and Slow" and the hit title track saw the beginning of Sonny Okosuns' most creative and influential period. He created a stunning and ever-adapting mix of Igbo, reggae, horns and dance music which transformed highlife music.

Constantly evolving to compete with Western popular music Okosuns became the most popular musician in Nigeria. More popular than Babatunde Olatunji, Fela Kuti, or his contemporary, King Sunny Adé. Although not as radical as Fela, Okosuns's music took a stand for Human-Rights at a time when Nigeria and every bordering country was ruled by a strongmen who came to power through a military coup. Fire in Soweto was immediately banned in South Africa.

Sonny Okosuns's career and creativity were marked by an ability to synthesize the music of his native Nigeria with African pop styles and blending that with music returning to Africa from the West. He performed with Toots & the Maytalls and Jimmy Cliff. (And I'd bet that Cliff is responsible for Okosuns's inclusion on the Sun City record.) He worked with Eddy Grant. Peter Tosh stayed with Okosuns for several weeks leading up to the recording of Tosh's Mama Africa album.

I came to the music of Sonny Okosuns through his inclusion on the soundtrack of Something Wild and his appearance on the recording "Sun City" by Artists United Against Apartheid. That was a quarter century ago. Osokuns was the only African artist to perform on the benefit record. (Gary Trudeau referenced this kind of activism in his coverage of the USA for Africa recording sessions.) Strangely this happened at a low point in Okosuns's career during most of the 80s; this was between his Ozziddisco of the late 70s (don't ask) and his reinvention as a gospel singer and evangelist (again, don't ask.)

I never heard Sonny Okosuns perform live. I've only heard his "early stuff" on records. But I have seen his contemporaries, King Sunny Adé, Papa Wemba and Thomas Mapfumo, and heard the effect he has had on them. I've also seen and heard Okosuns's influence on Youssou N'Dour, Baba Maal, Remmy Ongala, and especially, Lucky Dube.

In the past decade or so Okosuns recorded Songs of Praise, built the House of Prayers Church and began unofficially adopting children at an alarming (and suspicious) rate. Several years ago Okosuns became seriously ill. According to various news sources his kidneys were failing, he had colon cancer, he couldn't afford medical treatment in Nigeria, he was being treated in India and he was visiting relatives in America.

It's my guess, based only on circumstantial evidence and conjecture, that Sonny Okosuns died of Aids. The history and medical options with Aids in Sub-Saharan Africa, the death of Fela and others and the sexual culture of Nigeria (just listen to "Steady and Slow") would make this unsurprising. Since his death at least two women have come forth who were legally married to Okosuns. I would guess that to be the tip of many icebergs and their children.

This duet by King Sunny Adé and Onyeka Onwenu is a symbol and sign of the effort to change entrenched attitudes. Onwenu, whose first album was produced by Okosuns, screamed upon hearing the news of his death. It is a great loss, a piece of history gone, made more bitter by the fact that the New York Times published his obituary a full month after his death . The deaths within the past month of Elder Steve Rhodes and Oliver de Coque only serve to underline this feeling of neglect.

I won't pretend to have listened to much (or any) of his music recently but Okosuns's passing into obscurity makes me sad. It is all the sadder because it is an obscurity that may already have claimed him. We in the Western world, especially America, seem to have lost something more than a single musician, no matter how singular or influential. All those who remember will miss him. Those who don't remember will be missing something.

Goodbye, Sonny. Sun re o.

I'm sorry for your loss.

Thank you. It's not a shattering personal loss. But when you combine his death with my outrage at indifference and ignorance, Sonny Okosuns becomes both metaphor and impetus for me to write... a lot.

Right now I am trying to come to terms with the death of Kermit Love.

"Pride & Joy"
"Too Many Fish in the Sea"
"Ain't Too Proud to Beg" 2
"(I Know) I'm Losing You"
"I Heard it through the Grapevine" 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
"I Can't Get Next to You" 2
"War (What Is It Good For?)" 2, 3
"Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me" 2
"Papa Was a Rolling Stone"
"Car Wash" 2, 3

Norman Whitfield has crossed over.

These are just ten of his songs. I'm especially partial to I Heard it Through the Grapevine #s 1, 6, 8 and 9 as well as War #2. It is easy to forget the totality of his work and influence... and it is impossible to deny. The music lives on.

Cashed In His Chips
Bit The Dust

• Gone the way of all the earth

• The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns (from Hamlet's To Be or Not to Be soliloquy)

gone to Davy Jone's locker

"He belongs to the ages now." (Said by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton when he heard of Lincoln's death.)