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quick and the dead

The living and the dead, as in The explosion was loud enough to wake the quick and the dead. Although quick has been used for “living” since the 9th century a.d., it survives only in this idiom and in cut to the quick, and may be obsolescent.

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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.