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Ways to Say Someone Has Died

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes about spirituality as well as many other topics.

Discover some other words you can use to talk about death, from formal terms to slang.

Discover some other words you can use to talk about death, from formal terms to slang.

Passed Away or Went to Heaven: Other Terms for Dying

There is one thing that everybody has in common. No matter how young or old, male or female, rich or poor, everyone will eventually die when their time comes.

When someone dies, those who are left behind must be given the news. Family members and friends may be told about the death of their loved one in a way that could be harmful or helpful to the grieving process.

So, how should a person announce someone's death? Different expressions can be used, depending on who you are telling and the circumstances surrounding the death. Sometimes a euphemism is used. Sometimes a traditional saying is shared, and sometimes a slang term is used.

What Is a Euphemism?

A euphemism is a figure of speech that indicates a more pleasant way of saying something. A euphemism is a literary device used to get the message across without using harsh words.

When it comes to announcing a death, some people are at a loss for words. Then when they do speak, the wrong things come out of their mouth. In those times, a euphemism would be more appropriate and appreciated.

Let's look at some euphemisms for words related to death.

There are harsh words and gentle words you can use when referring to things related to death. Even so, different cultures, locations, and religious beliefs have a lot to do with what a person says.

Take a look at the following expressions and recall what you have said or what has been said to you in the past.

Other Ways to Say "Died"




Passed away

Had their time come

Passed on


Slipped away

Lost their battle


Lost their life

Was taken too soon

General Expressions for "Dead" and "Death"




At peace



Final rest





Out of their misery


Biblical and Religious Ways to Say Someone Died

Breathed their last breath

Was called home

Didn't make it

Was taken home by the Lord

Fell asleep

Went to be with the Lord

Gave up the ghost

Went to eternal rest

Has crossed over

Went to heaven

Met their Maker

Went from labor to reward

Religious Terms for "Dead"


In the arms of God

In a better place

Resting in peace

In heaven

Sleeping with the angels

Slang Phrases for "Died" and "Dead"


Bit the dust

Belly up

Bought the farm

Dead as a doornail

Checked out



Pushing up daisies

Kicked the bucket

Six feet under

The dead are never forgotten by those who love them.

The dead are never forgotten by those who love them.

Reasons to Use Euphemisms

  • Euphemisms for death and dying are used to help soften the blow. Euphemisms are gentle ways to provide comfort in difficult situations.
  • These expressions are more pleasant than direct words about death, which might appear rude, blunt, and insensitive.
  • When a euphemism is used, it eliminates discomfort for both the giver and receiver of the news.
  • Euphemisms about being with the Lord are a great comfort to those who believe in God and life after death. They provide a reminder of God's sovereignty in the midst of death.

When You Should Not Use a Euphemism

It is usually not recommended to use euphemisms when speaking to children about death. It might confuse the child to hear that a parent is lost, asleep, expired, in the arms of God, or home. Counselors and other experts recommend using direct language when discussing death with children.

The words "death," "dead," and "dying" should also be used instead of euphemisms when there might be a language barrier that could hinder understanding and cause confusion. Slang expressions, jokes, and clichés should be avoided. Death is no joking matter.

A pastor shared these wise and comforting words about death.

A pastor shared these wise and comforting words about death.

From Personal Experience

When my oldest brother was taken to the hospital and later died, I was called on the telephone and told by one sister, "He didn't make it." The same thing happened when my youngest brother died several years later and another sister called me from the hospital with the identical words, "He didn't make it."

Once I called a nursing home in upstate New York to check on a friend and was told that the friend had expired. I know milk, bread, and other foods have an expiration date, but I had never thought about people expiring before then.

I never refer to the death of someone as a loss because during my father's eulogy, the pastor said that when you know where someone is, he is never lost.

As an ordained minister, I have preached many funerals and delivered many eulogies. I am careful with the expressions I use because of the impact they might leave on the grieving families.