in at the death


Also, in at the finish or kill. Involved in or present at the end, especially a disastrous end but sometimes merely the climax of an important event. For example, He had a hand in their breakup, but he didn't want to be in at the death, or They've done really well this year, and we want to be in at the kill. These expressions originally alluded to hunters and hounds being present at the death of a fox they had run to ground. [First half of 1700s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.