Describing Death

Describing death politely

If someone comes to you and asks about someone who died unexpectedly, we almost never say “He died.” It’s impolite to address it so directly. We use more polite terms, for example:

In general:

He passed away. (***most common!!)
He passed on.
He passed.
He was taken from us.
He is no longer with us.

If he is religious:

He’s gone to Heaven.
He’s left us for a better place.
He’s in a better place.

If he was injured or ill prior to dying:

He succumbed to his illness / injuries.

Describing death impolitely

Sometimes we expect death, if our grandmother has been ill, or our great aunt is very old. We should use the terms above — they are the most polite way to talk about death, but we have other idioms and terms (euphemisms) to talk about it in an impolite, casual, or joking manner, for example:

He kicked the bucket.
He bit the dust.
He croaked.
He breathed his last breath.
He met his maker.
The Grim Reaper visited.

After he is buried

He’s pushing up daisies.
Often on gravestones, you will see the acronym “R.I.P.” It means “Rest in Peace”.