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Derek J Humphry

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The multiple language of dying and death
by Derek J Humphry   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, November 01, 2014
Posted: Saturday, November 01, 2014

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Recent articles by
Derek J Humphry

• Liberty and Death
• Be Careful With Whom You Share Plans
• Quest for the 'peaceful pill'
• Euphemisms for euthanasia, assisted suicide, death
• The Future of the Right-to-Die Movement
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A bafling amount of terms and their euphemisms for all types of euthanasia, dying and death.

Language in today’s right to choose to die debate



(Take your pick!)



Help with a good death – in whichever way is desired, justifiable and appropriate. A broad, generic term for the right to die.


Voluntary Euthanasia:

When a physician administers a lethal dose to a dying person at their request.


For when a doctor prescribes a lethal overdose which the dying patient chooses to drink:

Physician-assisted suicide; Physician-assisted death; Physician-assisted dying; Physician-hastened death; Death With Dignity; Aid in Dying; Medically-assisted dying; Medicide (Kevorkian  book); Physician-managed death; Mercy killing; Terminal sedation.


For when a terminal patient chooses to end his or her own life without medical help:

Self-deliverance; Patient-directed dying (Preston  book); Humane self-chosen death; Auto-euthanasia; Rational suicide; Hastened death; Right to choose to die; Choice in dying; Self-determination; Suicide; Assisted suicide; Final Exit (Humphry book); Managed death; Self-destruction; self-murder; self-directed death; Peaceful Pill (Nitschke book); Drion Pill; stopping eating and drinking.


Common euphemisms to avoid saying dead :

 Passed away; Passed on; Gone to a better place; Departed; Gone to meet the Maker; Gone to meet the majority; Gone to the world of light; Gone to Davy Jones’s locker; Crossed to the other side; Gone to sleep with the fishes; Quietly slipped from our embrace; Succumbed; Called home; Got her/his final reward; Expired; Dearly departed; Gone to Jesus.


The criminal world has its own set of avoidances of the reality of death:

 Whacked, smoked, wasted, rubbed out, deep sixed; given cement overshoes.


Finally, there are the humorous and sardonic terms for death: Croaked, gave up the ghost, put on the wooden overcoat, total goner, kicked the bucket, dead as a doornail, snuffed it, bit the dust, bought the farm, flat-lined, pushing up daisies, celestial discharge, negative patient-care outcome.


Note: It would be useful if we still had Shakespeare around to invent modern new terms, because nobody currently can agree on the foregoing ones.


11.2.14                      -- Derek Humphry (  Oregon






Web Site: World Euthanasia Directory

Reader Reviews for "The multiple language of dying and death"

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Reviewed by Ronald Hull
After I stopped laughing, I got serious to address this. While Shakespeare was one of the most well-known, others have continually changed the English language and given it more new words all the time. The result is that those speaking other, simpler, languages trying to learn English are constantly baffled by the multiplicity of terms we have for various common, ordinary things, like death and dying.

Not wishing to be in a vegetative state for very long, kept alive for the benefit of the medical hospital complex coffers, and not at all egotistical about my need to stay alive for as long as medical science can keep my heart pumping, I have written several requests to be terminated when I can no longer write cow crap or bull ship like this and just become an eating and pooping machine.

Unfortunately, I'm sure the good people who read my requests (in multiple forms) will misinterpret and do with me what they will. I'm sure I will be in no position to do anything about it except scream internally in my mind while they manipulate me and can't hear it.

Now that's a great idea for a short story…

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