35 Creative Slang Terms for Death From the Past 600 Years

gallofoto/iStock via Getty Images
gallofoto/iStock via Getty Images

Slang expert Jonathon Green has an amazing interactive timeline taken from his monumental, three-volume Green’s Dictionary of Slang on terms for death. Like his other timelines of terms for sex and naughty bits, a great deal of human creativity is on display. The list goes all the way back to 1350, to a term that we still know today (dead as a doornail). Many of the terms are still familiar, such as bite the dust (1749), kick the bucket (1820), feed the fishes (1820), and hang up one’s hat (1854), but quite a few are less known—and delightful. Here are 35 old slang terms you can use to avoid talking too directly about that thing we don’t like to think about.

1. Turn over the perch (1594)

2. Yield the crow a pudding (1599)

3. Put to bed with a shovel (1707)

4. Put into one’s cool crepe (1725)

5. Slip one’s wind (1772)

6. Go out with a wooden habeas (1785)

7. Hop the twig (1797)

8. Lose the number of one’s mess (1814)

9. Booked by the Gravesend bus (1838)

10. Measure over the counter (1841)

11. Cut the painter (1850)

12. Ride old Charon’s Ferry-boat (1854)

13. Hand in one’s checks (1857)

14. Take a blinder (1859)

15. Lay down one’s knife and fork (1864)

16. Make a die of it (1866)

17. Go up Green River (1872)

18. Stick one’s spoon in the wall (1873)

19. Climb the golden staircase (1883)

20. Deal one’s final lay-out (1887)

21. Push clouds (1887)

22. Climb the greasy pole (1890)

23. Pull the string (of the shower bath) (1893)

24. Do a seven (1894)

25. Snuff one’s glim (1900)

26. Throw in one’s toe (1901)

27. Take the count (1902)

28. Shoot one’s star (1903)

29. Toss in one’s agate (1906)

30. Chuck up one’s bunch of fives (1909)

31. Go trumpet cleaning (1915)

32. Become a landowner (1916)

33. Answer the last roll call (1936)

34. Hand in one’s dinner pail (1937)

35. Climb the six foot ladder (1950)

This list first appeared in 2015 and was republished in 2019.

Turn Your LEGO Bricks Into a Drone With the Flybrix Drone Kit


Now more than ever, it’s important to have a good hobby. Of course, a lot of people—maybe even you—have been obsessed with learning TikTok dances and baking sourdough bread for the last few months, but those hobbies can wear out their welcome pretty fast. So if you or someone you love is looking for something that’s a little more intellectually stimulating, you need to check out the Flybrix LEGO drone kit from Fat Brain Toys.

What is a Flybrix LEGO Drone Kit?

The Flybrix drone kit lets you build your own drones out of LEGO bricks and fly them around your house using your smartphone as a remote control (via Bluetooth). The kit itself comes with absolutely everything you need to start flying almost immediately, including a bag of 56-plus LEGO bricks, a LEGO figure pilot, eight quick-connect motors, eight propellers, a propeller wrench, a pre-programmed Flybrix flight board PCB, a USB data cord, a LiPo battery, and a USB LiPo battery charger. All you’ll have to do is download the Flybrix Configuration Software, the Bluetooth Flight Control App, and access online instructions and tutorials.

Experiment with your own designs.

The Flybrix LEGO drone kit is specifically designed to promote exploration and experimentation. All the components are tough and can totally withstand a few crash landings, so you can build and rebuild your own drones until you come up with the perfect design. Then you can do it all again. Try different motor arrangements, add your own LEGO bricks, experiment with different shapes—this kit is a wannabe engineer’s dream.

For the more advanced STEM learners out there, Flybrix lets you experiment with coding and block-based coding. It uses an arduino-based hackable circuit board, and the Flybrix app has advanced features that let you try your hand at software design.

Who is the Flybrix LEGO Drone Kit for?

Flybrix is a really fun way to introduce a number of core STEM concepts, which makes it ideal for kids—and technically, that’s who it was designed for. But because engineering and coding can get a little complicated, the recommended age for independent experimentation is 13 and up. However, kids younger than 13 can certainly work on Flybrix drones with the help of their parents. In fact, it actually makes a fantastic family hobby.

Ready to start building your own LEGO drones? Click here to order your Flybrix kit today for $198.

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Why Are Common Graves Called Potter’s Fields?

Graves in potter's fields are sometimes marked with blank headstones or crosses.
Graves in potter's fields are sometimes marked with blank headstones or crosses.
vyasphoto/iStock via Getty Images

For centuries, regions around the world have maintained common graves called potter’s fields, where they bury unidentified victims and impoverished citizens who couldn’t afford their own cemetery plots. The term potter’s field has been around for just as long.

The earliest known reference to a potter’s field is from the Gospel of Matthew, which historians believe was written sometime during the 1st century. In it, a remorseful Judas gives the 30 silver coins he was paid for betraying Jesus back to the high priests, who use it to purchase a “potter’s field” where they can bury foreigners. It’s been speculated that the priests chose land from a potter either because it had already been stripped of clay and couldn’t be used for farming, or because its existing holes and ditches made it a particularly good place for graves. But Matthew doesn’t go into detail, and as the Grammarphobia Blog points out, there’s no evidence to prove that the original potter’s field was ever actually used for its clay resources—it could’ve just been a parcel of land owned by a potter.

Whatever the case, the term eventually caught on as English-language versions of the Bible made their way across the globe. In 1382, John Wycliffe translated it from Latin to Middle English, using the phrase “a feeld of a potter,” and William Tyndale’s 1526 Greek-to-English translation of the passage featured “a potters felde,” which was altered slightly to “potters field” in King James’s 1611 edition.

Around the same time, a new definition of potter was gaining popularity that had nothing to do with pottery—in the 16th century, people began using the word as a synonym for tramp or vagrant. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it was first written in a 1525 Robin Hood tale, and William Wordsworth mentioned it in his 1798 poem “The Female Vagrant.” It’s likely that this sense of the word helped reinforce the idea that a potter’s field was intended for the graves of the unknown.

It’s also definitely not the only phrase we’ve borrowed from the Bible. From at your wit’s end to a fly in the ointment, here are 18 everyday expressions with holy origins.

[h/t Grammarphobia Blog]