Can you say ”death”?

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Epsilon0

Epsilon0

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Dec 28, 2019
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What with Covid-19 decimating the population in my country, I notice people at my work talk almost daily about topics relating to or involving death. Because I am interested in how language works, I always pay attention to how my colleagues circumvent having to say ”died” or ”death”.

Much to my surprise, I seem to have no problem in calling death by its name, but my co-workers do.

I am curious to hear how you guys feel about the word ”death”. Can you use it in conversation? Or does it make you feel uncomfortable?

Do you perhaps prefer euphemisms? If so, which ones?
 
GoodPersonEffed

GoodPersonEffed

Ain't it all just ridiculous?
Jan 11, 2020
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I use died and passed away interchangeably. I think I tend to say passed away more when there's a sense of caring about the person who died, whether I care or the person I'm talking to cared. I also tend to use passed away if it's more recent. After a long enough time, they died. For some people, I think if they were really close to someone, it doesn't matter how much time has passed, they're jarred if someone refers to the one they cared about as having died. And it's jarring to some if a person didn't have a good relationship with the deceased or isn't sentimental about them, such as a parent, and bluntly says he or she is dead, no matter how much time has passed. If I'm talking about someone I don't know, like a celebrity, I'll say died. I've actually noticed that some people are triggered by euphemisms and will say, "Why don't you just say they died?"

Some people say passed on, but I think that might be regional. When I hear it, I feel like it's a funeral director saying it and I have a mildly uncomfortable response.
 
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NoCoast

NoCoast

disappear here
Oct 9, 2019
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End of life care is a pretty big part of my job, so the word ‘death’ is used often & the actual event is talked about frequently in my conversations. I never put much thought into the actual use of the word before, but thinking back now, when someone uses ‘passed’ instead of ‘died’ it does feel like maybe they are uncomfortable w the word or the reality of the situation.
 
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Soul

Soul

gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
Apr 12, 2019
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I say died/dead. In this area most of the euphemisms bother me more than the straight-up words (unless of course we're discussing a Norwegian blue parrot pining for the fjords).
 
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Luchs

Luchs

kristallene Bergluft über verfallener Gruft
Aug 21, 2019
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What with Covid-19 decimating the population in my country, I notice people at my work talk almost daily about topics relating to or involving death. Because I am interested in how language works, I always pay attention to how my colleagues circumvent having to say ”died” or ”death”.

Much to my surprise, I seem to have no problem in calling death by its name, but my co-workers do.

I am curious to hear how you guys feel about the word ”death”. Can you use it in conversation? Or does it make you feel uncomfortable?

Do you perhaps prefer euphemisms? If so, which ones?
I really like the german euphemisms "den Löffel abgeben" and "ins Gras beißen".

They mean to "give away the spoon" and to "bite the grass".
 
Sampervivum

Sampervivum

Member
May 25, 2020
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Most common time we use the translation of word "death" as it in my language, it's also used a lot in language expression, everything can be called "death" at the moment that it don't move. For people we also use it without restriction, in some case if it's about someone that we know we use a "passed out" equivalent, but in most case is simply "death".
 
lululoo

lululoo

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Dec 15, 2018
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I say died. I actually feel uncomfortable saying "passed away", though I recognize it's probably more appropriate in many scenarios. I don't know why but that phrase has always bugged me. But on the other hand, I haven't had someone really close to me die so I really don't have a right to a strong opinion here.
 
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GoodPersonEffed

GoodPersonEffed

Ain't it all just ridiculous?
Jan 11, 2020
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I also tend to use passed away if it's more recent. After a long enough time, they died. For some people, I think if they were really close to someone, it doesn't matter how much time has passed, they're jarred if someone refers to the one they cared about as having died.
Thinking about this from a semiotic perspective -- how we make meaning using language -- it makes sense that one would use "passed away" for a period of time before transitioning to "died." It reflects a period of transition for those who are still alive, instead of a sudden and jarring shift from alive to dead. It's not that the person is transitioning, but others' perceptions of their condition.

I remember there was a bird that had gotten into a hotel room I was staying in, through an open window. It perched on a seat, but I didn't interfere as the door was close by and was open. Suddenly, a cat ran in, grabbed the bird, and ran out with it. It was so jarring! The bird was alive, and in an instant, it was gone. It took several minutes for that to process.

Saying "passed away" is, I think, a way of processing.
 
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a.n.kirillov

a.n.kirillov

velle non discitur
Nov 17, 2019
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No, personally I don't have a problem talking explicitly about death; I enjoy it, actually.

German doesn't have that many euphemisms for death/ dying anyway, it seems. Apart from the ones Luchs has mentioned, and the ones similar or identical to those in the english language, there is "seeing the radishes from below", "to go away from us", "to go across Jordan (river)", "to bless the timely", "having to believe in it/ he had to believe in it", "to come around or to come around one's life (to be robbed of or lose ones life essentially)"

Some more macabre ones include: "to scratch off", "to nibble off", ... (Most of these are really untranslatable).
 
J

Jean Améry

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Mar 17, 2019
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In western/European culture - death is taboo hence the reluctance in discussing it openly. Clearly on a suicide forum the opposite is true (we talk about death all the time) but even here a euphemism for self-inflicted death was created: to catch the bus.

If taken literally this is nonsensical of course but even figuratively it's strange: 'taking a bus' implies there is a destination one will travel to while death is the absence of any destination. Life just ceases to be. Rationally speaking it's not likely we're going anywhere: the light goes out and that's it. Anyone who's ever seen a corpse knows this all too well: the person is gone, only the body remains. For as long as that lasts.

Personally I don't mind euphemisms aslong as the subject is clear and it doesn't involve denial of reality.
 
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Soul

Soul

gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
Apr 12, 2019
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Some of these are so interesting!

to go across Jordan (river)", "to bless the timely", "having to believe in it/ he had to believe in it", "to come around or to come around one's life (to be robbed of or lose ones life essentially)"
What is "the timely" being blessed - I mean, I get that it's an idiom, but what is it associated with? And that charming "have to believe it"! Is that only used in the past tense ("Elvis had to believe it in 1977") or can I say "I'll have to believe it by this time next year"?

I read somewhere that in Old Finnish (or was it Icelandic?) they had two words for dead - one for being freshly dead, and another for *really* dead, as in one's ghost has stopped coming around.
 
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a.n.kirillov

a.n.kirillov

velle non discitur
Nov 17, 2019
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Some of these are so interesting!



What is "the timely" being blessed - I mean, I get that it's an idiom, but what is it associated with? And that charming "have to believe it"! Is that only used in the past tense ("Elvis had to believe it in 1977") or can I say "I'll have to believe it by this time next year"?

I read somewhere that in Old Finnish (or was it Icelandic?) they had two words for dead - one for being freshly dead, and another for *really* dead, as in one's ghost has stopped coming around.
Maybe 'timely' was the wrong translation. Das Zeitliche is more like 'the temporal' and it probably refers to everything worldly, the temporal world.
 
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4eyebiped

4eyebiped

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Dec 28, 2019
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Talking about death, and its many variants, is no different to me than talking about Cheetos. In fact, I can freely talk about, discuss and joke about everything equally.

I never understood the use of euphemisms. Ultimately, your intent is the same and ultimately intent is what matters. People get way too hung up on the actual word when they should be worrying about the actual intent.
 
Epsilon0

Epsilon0

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Dec 28, 2019
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Some of these are so interesting!

What is "the timely" being blessed - I mean, I get that it's an idiom, but what is it associated with? And that charming "have to believe it"! Is that only used in the past tense ("Elvis had to believe it in 1977") or can I say "I'll have to believe it by this time next year"?

I read somewhere that in Old Finnish (or was it Icelandic?) they had two words for dead - one for being freshly dead, and another for *really* dead, as in one's ghost has stopped coming around.
:pfff:
Passed away
At rest
Gone to the other side
Passed over
Pushing up the daisies
Bought the farm
Kicked the bucket
Brown bread
Toast

My personal favourite is ”to go to your reward”.
 
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Vorty27

Vorty27

Freedom or Death
Jun 28, 2020
127
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Europe
No problem with saying it or talking about it at all. It's the word suicide that is harder to say to the open public to me. : /
 
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