Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Dead Man's Float

"So you want to learn to swim but you're afraid of the water?  No problem!  Just try the Dead Man's Float!  It's easy!"

The other day, as Marash Girl was walking from the post office, she passed a sign at the end of the street around the corner from her house reading Dead End.  It got her to thinking about all the deads in the English language, and particularly, (since she's been swimming lately), the Dead Man's Float (known in modern parlance as the Front Float).  Marash Boy had recalled earlier this week that when we were growing up, the first thing children were taught during swimming lessons was the Dead Man's Float. . . Why would any child want to learn to swim if they first had to try to do something called a Dead Man's Float?

On a lark, I checked the free dictionary (on line) which listed the following popular expressions in the English language which incorporated the word dead (see below), but the one they missed is the one that affected almost every child growing up, almost every child that ever tried to learn to swim in the 1920's, 1930's, 1940's, 1950's, 1960's and 1970's:  the Dead Man's Float!

a dead duck
a dead end
a dead letter
a dead ringer for
a dead weight
at a dead end
be a dead cert
be a dead loss
be a dead ringer for
be as dead as a dodo
be as dead as a doornail
be brain dead
be dead and buried
be dead from the neck up
be dead from the waist down
be dead in the water
be dead meat
be dead on feet
be dead to the world
be half-dead
be the dead spit of
beat a dead horse
bring to a dead end
catch dead to rights
come back from the dead
come to a dead end
cut dead
dead ahead
dead and buried
dead and gone
dead as a dodo
dead as a doornail
dead broke
dead cat on the line
dead center
dead certain
dead drunk
dead duck
dead easy
dead from the neck up
dead giveaway
dead in or an animal's tracks
dead in the water
dead letter
dead loss
dead meat
Dead men tell no tales
dead of winter
dead on
dead on arrival
dead on feet
dead serious
dead set against
dead to rights
dead to the world
dead wood
dead wrong
drop dead
Drop dead!
drop-dead date
drop-dead gorgeous
faint dead away
flog a dead horse
give up for dead
have dead to rights
in a dead heat
in the dead of night
It's ill waiting for dead men's shoes
knock dead
knock them/'em dead
leave for dead
Let the dead bury the dead
more dead than alive
Never speak ill of the dead
on dead center
over my dead body
Over my dead body!
play dead
raise from the dead
rise from the dead
roll over and play dead
silent as the dead
stone dead
stop dead in tracks
stop one dead in tracks
take for dead
taken for dead
the dead hand of
wake the dead
would not be caught dead
would not be seen dead
wouldn't be caught dead

1 comment:

  1. This is so interesting!! I bet there are much fewer expressions using the word alive/life/live, right? I wonder why...?