- death adder,
- death and taxes, certain as,
- death angel,
- death bell,
- death benefit
- to be excessively strict about: That publisher is death on sloppily typed manuscripts.
- to be snobbish about or toward.
- to be able to cope with easily and successfully: The third baseman is death on pop flies.
- to kill, especially to murder.
- to repeat too often, to the point of becoming monotonous and boring: That theme has been done to death.
- Fox Hunting.present at the kill.
- present at the climax or conclusion of a situation.
Origin of death
- to death or to the deathuntil deadbleed to death; a fight to the death
- to deathexcessivelybored to death
- to kill
- to overuse (a joke, etc) so that it no longer has any effect
- present when an animal that is being hunted is caught and killed
- present at the finish or climax
Word Origin for death
Old English deað "death, dying, cause of death," in plura, "ghosts," from Proto-Germanic *dauthaz (cf. Old Saxon doth, Old Frisian dath, Dutch dood, Old High German tod, German Tod, Old Norse dauði, Danish død, Swedish död, Gothic dauþas "death"), from verbal stem *dheu- (3) "to die" (see die (v.)) + *-thuz suffix indicating "act, process, condition."
I would not that death should take me asleep. I would not have him meerly seise me, and onely declare me to be dead, but win me, and overcome me. When I must shipwrack, I would do it in a sea, where mine impotencie might have some excuse; not in a sullen weedy lake, where I could not have so much as exercise for my swimming. [John Donne, letter to Sir Henry Goodere, Sept. 1608]
Death's-head, a symbol of mortality, is from 1590s. Death row first recorded 1940s. Death knell is attested from 1814; death penalty from 1875; death rate from 1859. Slang be death on "be very good at" is from 1839. Death wish first recorded 1896. The death-watch beetle (1660s) inhabits houses, makes a ticking noise like a watch, and was superstitiously supposed to portend death.
FEW ears have escaped the noise of the death-watch, that is, the little clickling sound heard often in many rooms, somewhat resembling that of a watch; and this is conceived to be of an evil omen or prediction of some person's death: wherein notwithstanding there is nothing of rational presage or just cause of terror unto melancholy and meticulous heads. For this noise is made by a little sheathwinged grey insect, found often in wainscot benches and wood-work in the summer. [Browne, "Vulgar Errors"]
To an extreme or intolerable degree, as in I am tired to death of these fund-raising phone calls, or That movie just thrilled me to death. This hyperbolic phrase is used as an intensifier. Also see sick and tired; tired out. [c. 1300]
In addition to the idioms beginning with death
- death and taxes, certain as
- death knell
- death of
- death on
- at death's door
- be the death of
- bore to death
- catch cold (one's death)
- fate worse than death
- in at the death
- kiss of death
- look like death (warmed over)
- matter of life and death
- put to death
- scare out of one's wits (to death)
- sign one's own death warrant
- thrill to pieces (to death)
- tickled pink (to death)
- to death
Also see underdead.