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put someone out of his or her misery

Kill a wounded or suffering animal or person, as in When a horse breaks a leg, there is nothing to do but put it out of its misery. [ Late 1700s ]
End someone's feeling of suspense, as in Tell them who won the tournament; put them out of their misery. [ c. 1920 ]
Both usages employ put out of in the sense of “extricate” or “free from.”
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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