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To kick the bucket
Posted: 03 February 2018 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello, folks

Does anyone know of the origin of the euphemistic expression “to kick the bucket” meaning :to die?

The origin of this idiom is said to have emerged from hanging pigs before slaughter? Any input ?

Thanks in advance

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Posted: 03 February 2018 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/kick-the-bucket.html

Here’s a couple of theories, including pig hanging, but not before slaughter.

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Posted: 03 February 2018 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It is on the big list.  Link at the top of each page here.  I think.

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Posted: 04 February 2018 02:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I wouldn’t call this phrase euphemistic: rather the opposite. Anyone who felt the need to avoid saying bluntly that Great-Aunt Mabel died might say that she ‘passed’, ‘passed away’, or ‘left us’, but certainly not that she kicked the bucket!

Incidentally, what is the antonym of euphemism? There surely must be one. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a cacophemism.

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Posted: 04 February 2018 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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How about dysphemism?

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Posted: 04 February 2018 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Dysphemism is indeed the usual term.

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Posted: 04 February 2018 08:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thanks all for the inputs and clarification

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Posted: 05 February 2018 02:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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What is it if you take a euphemism, e.g., geez-Louise, and dysphemize it, e.g., geez-Lou-fucking-uise?

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Posted: 05 February 2018 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I wouldn’t call this phrase euphemistic: rather the opposite. Anyone who felt the need to avoid saying bluntly that Great-Aunt Mabel died might say that she ‘passed’, ‘passed away’, or ‘left us’, but certainly not that she kicked the bucket!

Kick the bucket is still euphemistic because it skirts and fails to directly address the subject—death. It is slang though, and as a result it would be highly inappropriate in many situations, such as in front of the grieving family at a funeral. But that would be use of an inappropriate register, not an inappropriate mentioning of a taboo subject.

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Posted: 05 February 2018 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Kick the bucket is still euphemistic because it skirts and fails to directly address the subject—death. It is slang though, and as a result it would be highly inappropriate in many situations, such as in front of the grieving family at a funeral. But that would be use of an inappropriate register, not an inappropriate mentioning of a taboo subject.

I disagree, it might not directly address the subject of death; nevertheless, it might be offensive to the person it’s addressed to.
After all, I don’t think it would be appropriate to say: “I’m sorry about your sister kicking the bucket. If anything it would be disrespectful.

Merriam Webster:

the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant; also : the expression so substituted

For this reason I think for many it would be disrespectful and not more agreeable sounding.

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Posted: 05 February 2018 01:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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It is not something you hear at a funeral.

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Posted: 05 February 2018 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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As Dave said, “it would be highly inappropriate in many situations, such as in front of the grieving family at a funeral. But that would be use of an inappropriate register, not an inappropriate mentioning of a taboo subject.” Absolutely nobody connects the slang phrase “kick the bucket” with hanging pigs before slaughter.  It’s just a jovial/slangy phrase not suitable for formal occasions.

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Posted: 05 February 2018 11:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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languagehat - 05 February 2018 05:29 PM

As Dave said, “it would be highly inappropriate in many situations, such as in front of the grieving family at a funeral. But that would be use of an inappropriate register, not an inappropriate mentioning of a taboo subject.” Absolutely nobody connects the slang phrase “kick the bucket” with hanging pigs before slaughter.  It’s just a jovial/slangy phrase not suitable for formal occasions.

But that’s a false analogy, because an inappropriate register can also be offensive; therefore, it can be substituted with a more agreeable expression.  Also, what might not be offensive to you might be offensive to others. Kick the bucket is certainly not a euphemism for passed away, nor is it a euphemism for the subject of death itself; i.e. if one were to say: “Please accept my condolences for the death of your wife” versus, “please accept my condolences for your wife’s kicking the bucket” there is no equivocation as to which acknowledgement is more offensive and inappropriate, despite the social setting.

Dave said that kick the bucket is euphemistic because it fails to directly address the subject—death; but it is addressing the subject, it just refers to it in a more slangy expression.

[ Edited: 06 February 2018 09:28 AM by Logophile ]
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Posted: 06 February 2018 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Euphemism is not simply an agreeable phrasing—if it were, then every tactful or diplomatic phrasing would be euphemistic; it’s an indirect reference to a disagreeable topic.

The OED definition for euphemism:

That figure of speech which consists in the substitution of a word or expression of comparatively favourable implication or less unpleasant associations, instead of the harsher or more offensive one that would more precisely designate what is intended.

The Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language defines it as:

a mild, comforting, or evasive expression that takes the place of one that is taboo, negative, offensive, or too direct.

American Heritage Dictionary defines it as:

A mild, indirect, or vague term for one that is considered harsh, blunt, or offensive

In this case, the disagreeable or offensive subject is death, so we seek to indirectly say he died. We can say he passed away or he rests in peace; that is euphemism. We can also say he kicked the bucket; that is also euphemism as it avoids directly referring to death. The fact that it would inappropriate to use it in certain situations is irrelevant. A euphemism is always euphemistic, regardless of the situation in which it is uttered. There are cases where kick the bucket is not inappropriate, but it is still euphemistic.

It works the other way too. There’s a scene the TV series The Wire where three adult men are sitting around a table talking. One, a university professor, stands up and says, “I have to go tinkle,” and leaves. When he’s gone, the other two break out in laughter. Tinkle is a euphemism for urination, but in this case it is inappropriate because it is a nursery register, not something that a grown man would say to another. But it remains a euphemism.

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Posted: 06 February 2018 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Logophile - 05 February 2018 11:39 PM

languagehat - 05 February 2018 05:29 PM
As Dave said, “it would be highly inappropriate in many situations, such as in front of the grieving family at a funeral. But that would be use of an inappropriate register, not an inappropriate mentioning of a taboo subject.” Absolutely nobody connects the slang phrase “kick the bucket” with hanging pigs before slaughter.  It’s just a jovial/slangy phrase not suitable for formal occasions.

But that’s a false analogy, because an inappropriate register can also be offensive; therefore, it can be substituted with a more agreeable expression.  Also, what might not be offensive to you might be offensive to others. Kick the bucket is certainly not a euphemism for passed away, nor is it a euphemism for the subject of death itself; i.e. if one were to say: “Please except my condolences for the death of your wife” versus, “please except my condolences for your wife’s kicking the bucket” there is no equivocation as to which acknowledgement is more offensive and inappropriate, despite the social setting.

Dave said that kick the bucket is euphemistic because it fails to directly address the subject—death; but it is addressing the subject, it just refers to it in a more slangy expression.

I’m sure you didn’t intend to write except. Are you dictating because while it’s not an exact homophone for accept it’s near enough to confuse a computer?

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Posted: 06 February 2018 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I’m sure you didn’t intend to write except. Are you dictating because while it’s not an exact homophone for accept it’s near enough to confuse a computer?

I have no idea why I wrote except, excepting a mild case of lethologica. Thank you for pointing this out; it compels me to edit everything I write, which I should, especially on a forum devoted to words.

* (Mistake duly noted and immediately corrected)

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