Common Slang Terms for Death

Published February 24, 2020
Depressed woman discussing with therapist

Euphemisms or slang terms for death can become part of a cultural fabric and are often used according to location and/or religious beliefs. These terms are often used to discuss or process death in a way that feels more gentle and at times less intense than other, harsher death related verbiage.

Euphemisms for Death and Dying

Euphemisms for death or the dying process can be used to discuss your own arrangements, or the death of a loved one. Doing so can, at times, make discussing death feel less intimidating and a bit easier to speak about. Because dying is a process everyone will face, having many options when it comes to death and dying related language can be helpful. Some popular euphemisms for death include:

  • Passed away
  • Passed on
  • Deceased
  • Resting in peace
  • Eternal slumber
  • Eternal sleep
  • Eternal rest
  • Lost his/her battle
  • Succumbed
  • Succumbed to
  • Slipped away
  • Faded away
  • Lost his/her life
  • Perished
  • Gone
  • Didn't make it
  • Took his/her last breath

Terms or Words for the Process of Dying

There are many euphemisms for the process of dying. These words or phrases can be used when speaking about a loved one, or discussing the dying process with a friend or family member. Some gentle ways to describe this process include:

  • Fading away
  • Losing her/his battle
  • Near the end
  • Terminally ill
  • Slipping away
  • Nearing the end
  • On their deathbed
  • Drifting away
  • Departing
  • Passing away

Religious Terms for Death and Dying

Religious terms for death and dying have developed as religion has progressed over time. Many religions have harsh ways of describing death. Some lighter religious terms include:

  • Went to heaven
  • Is with the angels now
  • Is an angel
  • Is with God
  • God has taken her/him
  • Crossed over
  • Has left this world
  • Was called home
  • Went home
  • Went to the place in the sky
  • Is amongst the stars
  • Is in heaven
  • In Abraham's bosom
  • Found eternal peace
  • She/He is with (insert relatives who have passed)

Common Slang Terms

Many common slang terms that are used for death or dying can sound a bit harsh. While popular in their use, these probably aren't the best ways to discuss a recent death with someone who just lost a loved one, or with someone in the process of losing a loved one.

  • Kicked the bucket
  • Pushing up daisies
  • Their number is up
  • He/she has croaked
  • They bit the dust
  • Met his/her maker today
  • Checked out
  • Lay down for an eternal rest
  • Final slumber
  • Threw in his/her towel
  • Six feet under
  • Their time is up
  • Expired
  • Goner
  • Bought the farm
  • Dropped dead
  • Cashed in their chips

Why Slang Terms Are Used

Slang terms may be used as a way to discuss something that many people find difficult to process. Instead of saying death or dying, it may feel easier to some to use language that feels more gentle. This may unconsciously bring up notions of a peaceful and calm passing, instead of a death filled with suffering. In this sense, language can have a powerful impact on how someone internalizes the death of a loved one. People speaking with someone who lost a loved one may also choose to use a euphemism for death as a way to be respectful to the person in mourning. Again, conjuring up more gentle imagery through the use of language can make discussing death more palatable.

Understanding the Language of Death

Choosing what words you use to discuss or describe death or dying can have a powerful effect on how the passing is internalized by the speaker and the listener. How someone's culture views death and dying will help dictate what type of language is used to describe the process.

Common Slang Terms for Death