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Pushing up daisies

  • Pushing up daisies is an idiom with roots in nineteenth century flower lore. 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, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as in a blue moon, 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 idiom pushing up daisies, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.


     

    Pushing up daisies is an idiom and a euphemism that describes something that is dead. A euphemism a word or phrase that is a substitute for a more blunt, harsh, offensive, or unpleasant word or phrase. A euphemism is a way of saying unpleasant facts or ideas in a more pleasant, vague, or gentle manner, often using colloquial phrases or modern slang. The idiom pushing up daisies has its roots in poetic imagery that appeared in the 1800s in phrases such as “under the daisies” and “turning one’s toes up to the daisies.” Daisies were considered a sign of purity. They grew easily and were often planted on graves. The expression pushing up daisies gained popularity because of its use by British troops during World War I as a euphemism for death.

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    Examples

    “If Hampton Roads waited for state dollars to widen I-64, I would be pushing up daisies in Cedar Grove Cemetery.” (The Daily Press)

    The rear-wheel-drive Regal will be put to rest at the end of 1987, and its turbocharged and intercooled 3.8-liter V-6 will start pushing up daisies as well. (Car and Driver Magazine)

    But bear in mind that the mix of materials means they cannot be recycled, so they will be taking up room in landfill long after we’re all pushing up daisies. (The Financial Times)


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