Pascal Trégueretymology, USA & CanadaCanada, cinema, dictionaries, bother Houdini, papers & magazines, phrases, sporting activities & games, USA1 Comment

Of American-English origin, the expression six feet under method dead and also buried (synonyms: to rotate up one’s toes, to press up daisies and French manger les pissenlits par la racine, accurate to eat the dandelions by the root).

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Short for buried six feet under ground, this phrase alludes come the typical depth that a grave.

The complete type of the phrase showed up for example in the complying with from The Oregon Weekly Statesman (Salem, Oregon) of Wednesday 9th November 1870:


Just to display how leading Democrats act the dreaded Chinese question, us publish and also call fist to the complying with Legislative proceedings:Mr. Hendershott, top top October 21st, asked and also obtained leave to present a bill—S. B. No. 97—to enable the State of Oregon to have actually a dead point on Chinamen. Be the enacted by the legislature Assembly the the State the Oregon:Sec. 1. No Chinaman chandelier be enabled to dice in this State, till he has paid ten dollars for a brand-new pair of boots v which to absent the bucket.Sec. 2. Any kind of Chinaman dice under this plot shall be buried six feet under ground.Sec. 3. Any kind of Chinaman who attempts to destruction up one more Chinaman’s bones, shall first procure a license from the Secretary that State, because that which that shall pay four dollars.Sec. 4. Any kind of dead Chinaman who shall effort to destruction up his own bones there is no giving notice to the Secretary the State, shall be fined one hundred dollars.Sec. 5. Any kind of Chinaman who shall be born without bones because that the purpose of wilfully and also feloniously evading the provisions the this act, shall it is in fined five hundred dollars.

The Hungarian-born American magician and also escape artist harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz – 1874-1926) pointed out this particular depth, follow to his obituary released in The Morning Leader (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) the Tuesday 2nd November 1926:

“Out in Los Angeles eight years earlier I made a bet that I can be manacled and buried alive six feet listed below the surface and get earlier to the land of the life without aid,” the magician claimed in recounting his experience. “The only condition I make was the the interment should be graded, very first going under one foot of soil, climate two, and also so on. A party of us left Los Angeles at dawn and also motored end the roadway to Santa Ana. I knew something of the geology of those parts, and I knew that surface ar vegetation to be nothing but beard bristle ~ above sandy soil. I was duly manacled in the graged graves, do my method out (hand and ankle free) indigenous the shallower graves, but finding a little difficulty with the four-foot and five-foot plantings.“Somebody urged me no to shot the six-foot grave, but, as it always the way of a mystifier that makes any pretense to wisdom, i had dedicated more time to practice than my girlfriend imagined. Castle remanacled me, and also the extra foot of soil was dug up. I was buried and the floor dumped down on me expeditiously, as stipulated.“The shallower internments had accustomed me come the darkness and deafness of burial, yet the knowledge that ns was six feet under sodthe legal necessity for corpses—gave me the very first thrill of horror I had ever before experienced in my career together a journeyman daredevil.“The short-term scare—the irretrievable wrong of every daredevils—nearly cost me my life, because that it resulted in me to waste a portion of breath once every portion was necessary to pull through. I maintained the sand loose about my human body so that I can work dexterously. Ns did. Yet as i clawed and also kneed the planet my strength began to fail. Then i made one more mistake. Ns yelled. Or, at least, i attempted to, and also the last remnants of mine self-possession left me. Climate instinct stepped in to the rescue. Through my last reserve I fought through, much more sand 보다 air entering mine nostrils. The sunshine came choose a blinding blessing, and my friends around the grave stated that, chalky pale and also wildeyed together I was, ns presented a perfect imitation the a dead guy rising.“The next time I’m hidden it will certainly not it is in alive—if i can help it.”

The earliest incident of six feet under in the Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition, 1989) is native The American Thesaurus of Slang: A finish Reference book of Colloquial Speech (New York, cutting board Y. Crowell company, 1942) by Lester V. Berrey and Melvin van den Bark:

Dead and also buried <…> six feet under.

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But the earliest instance of the phrase that ns have discovered is indigenous title given to the complying with paragraph published in The evening Leader (Staunton, Virginia, USA) that Wednesday 17th September 1924:

About Six Feet Under.—A wild drive in one auto ended in a flower-bed, says a news dispatch rfom Hawarden. Much more frequently they end under flower-beds.—Cherokee, (Iowa) Chief.

The second-earliest incident of the phrase that i have uncovered is native the evaluation of The Devil’s Cargo, a 1925 American silent drama movie directed by Victor Fleming (1889-1949) and also distributed by paramount Pictures—review released in The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia, USA) of Sunday first February 1925:

The story is among Sacramento in 1850—a goldrush town whereby a crooked look supposed a fight, with among the contestants winding increase “six feet under.”

I have additionally found very early figurative usage of six feet under in the obelisk Sport Ink-Lings, by ‘Otto’, in the Wisconsin Rapids day-to-day Tribune (Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, USA) that Thursday 14th July 1927:

Merrill baseball fans hosted a meeting Tuesday night to decision upon the future of your baseball club. The feeling displayed at this meeting shown that the pan didn’t care much even if it is they had actually a team in the Jenny town or not, but the directors scheduled their decision on whether the club will certainly disband or no until later in the week. Popular opinion is that after the Mosinee video game Sunday the Jenny club will be shrouded and also put “six feet under.”