Die on the vine

Die on the vine is an idiom with an uncertain origin. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common saying die on the vine, when it came into use, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Die on the vine is an idiom that describes failing at an early stage of development, to be unsuccessful before a project has gotten very far. When something is said to die on the vine, it is usually because of a lack of interest or effort. For instance, an unpopular proposal that is introduced in a governing body might not be passed because so few people support it or will work for its passage. While no one actively opposed this unpopular proposal, it might be said to die on the vine because no one championed the proposal, either. Related phrases are dies on the vine, died on the vine, dying on the vine. The expression die on the vine came into popular use in the mid-twentieth century, though its exact origin is unknown at this time.


It was different from previous revivals that would bud only to die on the vine; this one, finally, was taking root. (Bloomberg News)

However, as we all have learned, if you don’t adjust to the “new normal,” your consulting practice will likely die on the vine. (Forbes Magazine)

Alamo at one time considered opening a multi-screen movie theater at Tomoka Town Center but apparently its interest “died on the vine,” Lentz said. (Daytona Beach News-Journal)

Leave a Comment