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Idioms and Phrases with put someone out of his or her misery

put someone out of his or her misery

1

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]

2

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.