Some day, I too will go to the fjords

Death is a difficult subject for many people to deal with to deal with and some shy away from the word itself and resort to euphemisms when referring to the death of someone they know. Chris Raymond lists 101 alternatives for death, dead, or dying, some of which are jocular and used only for the deaths of strangers or people one dislikes.

Recently, I received the daily e-newsletter from my university and it reported the death of a former employee. The headline said that he had ‘passed away’, which is probably the most favored euphemism. But when I read the details, it appeared that he had died suddenly. To me the phrase ‘passed away’ signifies someone slipping into death, dying fairly peacefully and not unexpectedly, and its use to describe a sudden death seems incongruous.

Monty Python in the famous dead parrot sketch beginning at the 2:40 mark adds some other euphemisms.

I think that ‘gone to the fjords’ would be a pretty good euphemism too.

As a digression, here is John Cleese talking with Seth Meyers about the dead parrot sketch.


  1. moarscienceplz says

    Sorry Mano, no fjords for you! When you become a room-temperature person, we will nail your feet and your elbows to your computer desk so you will be doomed to write blog entries for all eternity.

  2. says

    Lately I’ve been hearing that people have simply “passed”. It’s as if the “away” part has now become too painful.

  3. hyphenman says


    I plan on sleeping with the fishes.

    One of the benefits of being a Navy veteran is that I can choose burial (at least of my ashes) at sea.


  4. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Hyphenman, my stepfather was buried at sea (not cremated). Although the Navy will do it for free, there is a surprisingly long wait list (about 8 months back in ’99). So we paid a private boating company that did it. My wife and I made all the arrangements, including a bugler to play Taps.

    I’d just as soon be recycled. I want to take a long walk out into the desert, and die somewhere where the coyotes will eat my remains.

  5. coragyps says

    ahcuah, that “passed” with no “away” seems to be the standard way to say “died” for the last three or four years down here in Texas. I don’t know where that came from either, but I have wondered once or twice if I was being told the decedent had passed gas…..

  6. coragyps says

    CC, there may be a lot to be said for combining the two: get placed in DEEP water and have Osedax eat your body.

  7. says

    I always thought Jeremy Bentham had hit upon the strangest way of doing the dead parrot sketch. Then I was reading up on Beddowes and various regency stoners and discovered that apparently Bentham was a fan of nitrous oxide, used recreationally. Suddenly his idea made more sense: it’s total trip-think.

  8. enkidu says

    That someone Passed, as a euphemism really infuriates me, and it’s becoming distressingly common here, down-under as well. My tongue always wants to say, “What? A giant turd?” I have to discipline it severely.

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