dying a death

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 20 07:13:14 UTC 2010

I have no issue with the comments so far. The perhaps originally ironic
stage version of "dying the death" makes perfect sense. But I feel
compelled to sound the usual warning on raw Google hits--the majority of
the hits among the ~2 million for both expressions are either false
positives that include punctuation between "dying" and "a/the" (such as
",", "." ")") or modified expressions with a modifier (such PP)
following "death". This is the reason I listed specific examples rather
than resorting to the general search results.

There are two additional considerations. First, the use is clearly not
limited to stage anymore. Second, the death in question no longer slow
and gratuitous. Other than that, well, ...


On 1/19/2010 5:50 PM, Robin Hamilton wrote:
> Sounds like a recent variant of the phrase (or cliché) "dying the death" or
> "died the death".  (1,610,000 goggle hits for "dying the death" vs. 375,000
> for "dying a death".)  Usually something which expires slowly, never the
> literal sense of death, and possibly connected with the showbiz use of
> talking about a play or show dying when it bombs.
> The original is so familiar in the UK that I wouldn't have thought twice if
> I came on it, and confronted by "dying a death," I'd think it was someone
> trying to be clever and extend the original slightly.
> Strange that it doesn't run in America -- is there a USA equivalent?
> Robin

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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