Sponsor Message:
Non Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Why Are People Uncomfortable Using The Word "die"?  
User currently onlinezrs70 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 3098 posts, RR: 9
Posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 2904 times:

Ever noticed how often people use euphemisms for "death"? People will say things like:

passed on
passed away
left us
gone
is no longer with us

The worst I heard was: "He expired last night."

For some reason, people have a hard time using the simple word, "death." What's that about?


14 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2013
42 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineLOT767-300ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 2890 times:

People are always uncomfortable with things that are natural or think that by using a word or saying something someone will be hurt when in reality one has to do with another about as much as White Castle has in common with Whole Foods.

Example:
Co-worker was out of work the other day and I jokingly said "Hes probably got cancer" and someone said "You shouldn't say that" WTF? Do I have voodoo powers that I can usher cancer out of nowhere...people are stupid.


User currently offlineQuokka From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2870 times:

Perhaps it reminds them of the fact that their own life is transitory. Today we are living and tomorrow we are dead. People often fear that which they don't know or understand and whole religions are based on the notion of life after death.

It is also funny how people say that they are going to the "bathroom" when the room they are going to does not actually have a bathtub.


User currently onlinezrs70 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 3098 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2866 times:

Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 1):
o-worker was out of work the other day and I jokingly said "Hes probably got cancer" and someone said "You shouldn't say that" WTF? Do I have voodoo powers that I can usher cancer out of nowhere...people are stupid.

That was pretty dumb of you. Not because of voodoo powers, but because of blatant stupidity. There are so many people with cancer, and it is no joking matter.



14 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2013
User currently offlineLOT767-300ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2861 times:

Quoting zrs70 (Reply 3):

That was pretty dumb of you. Not because of voodoo powers, but because of blatant stupidity. There are so many people with cancer, and it is no joking matter.

So what if there are many people dying of cancer? Many people died of bubonic plague but if you said "He probably came down with the black plague" people would laugh. Its all relative and it all has absolutely no influence on the final outcome.


User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9694 posts, RR: 27
Reply 5, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2857 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting zrs70 (Reply 3):
That was pretty dumb of you. Not because of voodoo powers, but because of blatant stupidity. There are so many people with cancer, and it is no joking matter.

There are also many people who are dead. Should we not say "dead"?
There are also many people who are stupid. Should we not call things "stupid"?

You could go on and on. Pretty much anything you say is bound to offend somebody, somewhere.

Example: my mom died of cancer many years ago. But I'm offended neither by "your mom" jokes nor by cancer jokes. I see no point in being offended. Someone making a joke has nothing to do with my personal experiences.

Obviously I'm not going to joke around about cancer to someone whose mom just died from it. But I think people would do well to understand that most of those sort of comments are not intended to be personal, and not be so quick to get offended.

Quoting zrs70 (Thread starter):

For some reason, people have a hard time using the simple word, "death." What's that about?

I have no idea. Death is a part of life, as they say. Just like many other things we make fun of or discuss in a joking manner.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineKGRB From United States of America, joined Sep 2010, 698 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2844 times:

These are just simply euphemisms. It's a silly example, but I think it illustrates the point... it's much more polite to say "I need to use the restroom" than to say "I have to take a piss."

The goal here is to be polite as well, especially for someone that's grieving a loved one.

Quoting zrs70 (Reply 3):
Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 1):
o-worker was out of work the other day and I jokingly said "Hes probably got cancer" and someone said "You shouldn't say that" WTF? Do I have voodoo powers that I can usher cancer out of nowhere...people are stupid.

That was pretty dumb of you. Not because of voodoo powers, but because of blatant stupidity. There are so many people with cancer, and it is no joking matter.

   Sorry, but I don't see the humor in a co-worker getting cancer. Based on the reaction of the person you were talking to, I'd say you probably crossed the line.



Δ D E L T A: Keep Climbing
User currently offlineMudboy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1167 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2836 times:

Quoting zrs70 (Reply 3):
That was pretty dumb of you. Not because of voodoo powers, but because of blatant stupidity. There are so many people with cancer, and it is no joking matter.

Dude lighten up, if that offends you, you should stay away from anyone the deals with Emergency Medicine. We use "gallows humor " quite often, it is part of lightening up the baggage you carry around with you, from seeing dead and dying people. I have had to watch myself several times, because you have to understand, that people do not understand where you are coming from.

Several of my friends have asked me through the years, "how do you deal with seeing all these dead people, doesn't it bother you"? In 17+ yrs I have seen just about every way a person can die, and it is nothing to brag about. To say I do not carry some baggaage around would be a lie, we all have had those ones we will never forget. I am proud to say I have never had to turn to the bottle or do drugs to surpress it, I have just learned my way to deal with it, and move on.

I think the hardest pill I had to swallow early on, was the realization that one day you are going to die, and it will not always be when you are 80 y/o and in your sleep.
Stay Safe!

[Edited 2010-10-21 00:48:18]

User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4488 posts, RR: 22
Reply 8, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2811 times:

Quoting zrs70 (Reply 3):
Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 1):
o-worker was out of work the other day and I jokingly said "Hes probably got cancer" and someone said "You shouldn't say that" WTF? Do I have voodoo powers that I can usher cancer out of nowhere...people are stupid.

That was pretty dumb of you. Not because of voodoo powers, but because of blatant stupidity

I'd call it insensitive. Joking that someone who has a minor bug has "cancer" really trivializes and marginalizes cancer, a truly debilitating, life-changing event for the afflicted and their families. I remember watching those who have fought battles with cancer and lost, and seen those who have fought and won. Their battles certainly didn't compare to skipping work for a day. So I'd call it immature and in poor taste. It doesn't offend me, per se, but it tells me a lot about you.

Quoting Quokka (Reply 2):
Perhaps it reminds them of the fact that their own life is transitory. Today we are living and tomorrow we are dead. People often fear that which they don't know or understand and whole religions are based on the notion of life after death.

   Euphemisms, by definition, "ease you in" to a certain fact. Letting your brain make the connection that "passed away"="death" softens the blow somewhat.

It's rather like this: Saying "I need to poop and pee" makes most people at least uncomfortable. Saying "I need to use the restroom" gets the point across, but is much more PC. Things are generally "socially acceptable" for a reason.



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlineWrenchBender From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1779 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2776 times:

The only way to talk about death:

" 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!! "

Courtesy of Messrs Palin & Cleese, with the assistance of the "demised" Mr Chapman.

WrenchBender



Silly Pilot, Tricks are for kids.......
User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 2751 times:

I personally don't see a problem with it.

If somebody is dead - then they're dead. No point to beating around the bush because people know what you mean.


User currently onlinezrs70 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 3098 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 2727 times:

I remember once seeing a friend who looked horrible. I jokingly said, "boy, you look like your mom just died." He looked at me and said, "She did." I felt pretty stupid after that, and I have made sure never to make jokes having to do with those kinds of things.

Can you imagine if you substituted "cancer" with "AIDS"? Would any of us say, "oh, he probably contracted AIDS?"



14 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2013
User currently offlineDeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 7787 posts, RR: 52
Reply 12, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 2700 times:

Quoting zrs70 (Reply 11):
Can you imagine if you substituted "cancer" with "AIDS"? Would any of us say, "oh, he probably contracted AIDS?"

I hear that a lot actually. People need to stop being so sensitive. There are bigger problems in life to deal with that misinterpreting someone's joke



Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
User currently offlineKPHXFlyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 413 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 2699 times:

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 8):

Euphemisms, by definition, "ease you in" to a certain fact. Letting your brain make the connection that "passed away"="death" softens the blow somewhat.

It's rather like this: Saying "I need to poop and pee" makes most people at least uncomfortable. Saying "I need to use the restroom" gets the point across, but is much more PC. Things are generally "socially acceptable" for a reason.

   It would be great if people could deal with reality without going atwitter with angst. But as a society, we try to insulate ourselves from the various not-so-nice realities of life.

My mother died of lymphoma when I was 8 years old. I remember my dad clearly telling me that she had passed on. I understood that initially that she passed a test of some kind. He then had to say it again and used the word "died". So my dad wanting to spare my initial burst of grief, instead merely postponed it. Do I blame him for trying to soften the blow? Absolutely not.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 5):
Example: my mom died of cancer many years ago. But I'm offended neither by "your mom" jokes nor by cancer jokes. I see no point in being offended. Someone making a joke has nothing to do with my personal experiences.

Obviously I'm not going to joke around about cancer to someone whose mom just died from it. But I think people would do well to understand that most of those sort of comments are not intended to be personal, and not be so quick to get offended.

   I don't know many cancer jokes but I do love a good Yo Momma joke.

However, I don't know if I would have been laughing at a Yo Momma joke in the first few years after my mom passed away. Grief is an unusual thing; it can manifest itself in many varied situations. It's also very personal; its not a shared experience. You could argue that a group of people who lost a close relative would be having a shared grief but IMO, it's several individual griefs with the only shared characteristic of the close relative.

Say you have a friend you know who had a person close to them die. You could be absolutely correct in telling them "I'm sorry that died. That sucks." If it was immediately after the death, you might see that friend act out on you:   "YOU'RE SORRY! THAT'S GREAT! I'M GLAD YOUR SORRY!" If you said, instead, "I'm sorry that passed away. They were very special.", There's still a possibility they'll act out but I think it'd be more remote. Instead you're more likely to get a tacit confirmation that they heard you. "Thank you. Gertie was very special." They might still act out but I think the probabiltiy of that is greatly reduced.

As I said, Grief is a very personal and individual thing. Most people don't want to be come involved in someone else's grief experience. So by not using a euphemism, you risk being drawn into that unpleasant experience. The euphemisms of death maybe a "cop-out" but one that does serve a useful, if somewhat selfish, purpose.

Cheers,
Cory


User currently offlineGQfluffy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 2676 times:

People are too coddled these days and can't handle any bad news.

User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9694 posts, RR: 27
Reply 15, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 2650 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting zrs70 (Reply 11):
Can you imagine if you substituted "cancer" with "AIDS"? Would any of us say, "oh, he probably contracted AIDS?"

I see no difference there.

I laughed my ass off at that South Park episode with Jared from the Subway commercials, which was all about AIDS.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently onlinezrs70 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 3098 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 2611 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 15):
I laughed my ass off at that South Park episode

Enough said! When South Park is quoted, I better understand who I am talking with!



14 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2013
User currently offlinedirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1649 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 2606 times:

I personally hate using the word 'dead' as in so and so is dead. I remember when my grandmother died I'd always refer to her as passed away. Dead sounds so impersonal and final to me when I hear it.

User currently offlineAeroflot777 From Russia, joined Mar 2004, 2999 posts, RR: 27
Reply 18, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 2601 times:

Quoting zrs70 (Reply 11):
I remember once seeing a friend who looked horrible. I jokingly said, "boy, you look like your mom just died." He looked at me and said, "She did." I felt pretty stupid after that, and I have made sure never to make jokes having to do with those kinds of things.

Eh. Same here... A co-worker called into work and she sounded so horrible on the phone that I could barely understand her. I went on to say, "You sound like someone died!". She proceeded to say that her best friend just tragically died and she couldn't come into work. Turns out that me not being able to hear her was because she was sobbing. Not a good memory for me.

Aeroflot777


User currently offlineAaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8021 posts, RR: 26
Reply 19, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2589 times:

Quoting GQfluffy (Reply 14):
People are too coddled these days and can't handle any bad news.

Or some of us just don't like notions of fatalism as they apply to our own lives, thank you very much.



If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
User currently offlineGQfluffy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2560 times:

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 19):
Or some of us just don't like notions of fatalism as they apply to our own lives, thank you very much.

Reality sucks, but tomorrow is just a day away. Live life without worry of death, and it's one less stress on life. Why is that so difficult?


User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2544 times:

I don't think using "passed away" or similar in place of "died" has much to do with being uncomfortable with the word "die" or with death in general. For many people, it's just the way they prefer or are used to discussing that topic.

User currently offlineAaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8021 posts, RR: 26
Reply 22, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2532 times:

Quoting GQfluffy (Reply 20):
Reality sucks, but tomorrow is just a day away. Live life without worry of death, and it's one less stress on life. Why is that so difficult?

Because it's natural to be worried about it. If we weren't, there wouldn't be writings on the subject going all the way back through human history, nor a trillions of dollars large worldwide medical industry.



If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
User currently offlineMadameConcorde From San Marino, joined Feb 2007, 10862 posts, RR: 38
Reply 23, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2520 times:

Quoting zrs70 (Thread starter):
For some reason, people have a hard time using the simple word, "death." What's that about?

It has to deal with the English language.
In French "Il est mort" he died - is very common - this is what we say all the time.
We don't use things like "he passed away" or the like.
We just say "he/she died".



There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
User currently offlineAaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8021 posts, RR: 26
Reply 24, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2509 times:

Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 23):
It has to deal with the English language.
In French "Il est mort" he died - is very common - this is what we say all the time.
We don't use things like "he passed away" or the like.
We just say "he/she died".

Not only English - Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and Hindi are all examples of major languages that have numerous euphemisms for death in common use.



If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
25 Post contains links DocLightning : One of my favorite comediennes on the subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YFRUSTiFUs
26 AlexEU : Because we believe that our loved ones are not dead, but living in heaven. Therefore, death doesn´t exist in some way.
27 WarRI1 : I am with you, I try to be gentle about it when someones passing is mentioned. Is it respect, concern for the family? I think so. I also use, dieing,
28 Post contains images Fly2HMO : This is proof political correctness is getting waaaay out of hand. People die. Period. My grandpa died. My grandma died. A girl I went to class with i
29 Quokka : People have been using euphemisms for death for far longer than the "term" PC has been around. Of course PC has always been around, just the "term" i
30 aerorobnz : There's a whole routine by George Carlin about Euphemisms - it's hilarious.... I go out of my way to use the most direct language I can now cos I'm si
31 Post contains images oldeuropean : No problem for us, beside of "der" and "das", we Germans use the word "die" hundreds of times, every day. Axel
32 CXB77L : I think you hit the nail on the head, at least for me personally. I don't use the word 'dead' because I'm a religious person - I believe in life afte
33 zrs70 : I am a rabbi, and most clergy I know are very specific about using the word "death." I am very particular when I talk to younger children when they a
34 MadameConcorde : i'm not afraid of dying, i don't know how i'd feel at the moment, but i'm prepared for death because i don't believe in it. i think it's just getting
35 vikkyvik : Well feel free to fill me in on who I am! I personally believe that it's probably best to just be as honest as you can with kids. But take that with
36 MCO2BRS : For me, death is a fact of life, and nothing more. It happens every moment of every day, and has done for thousands of years, and will continue to do
37 DocLightning : Thanks. Her accent alone is enough to make you piss your pants!
38 ImperialEagle : Yes, people who believe the soul is merely in "transition" do not think of referring to "death" which to them inferrs the end---nothing. So we have p
39 BOStonsox : I remember his routine about how all of our curse words were words that refered to things that were part of nature: defecating and having sex. And th
40 cws818 : I doubt, as you seem to do, that you possess voodoo powers. However, I think that it is pretty clear that your remark - even though intended as a jok
41 richm : It's interesting that you brought this up. I went to a funeral a week ago and I remember commenting on the use of the word "died". While it is an acc
42 MEA-707 : French is only my 4th language, but when important French speaking people died like Mitterand or Hergé I bought or checked French newspapers, they a
Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
Why Don't The People Just Let The Pope Die? posted Sat Apr 2 2005 03:04:50 by MartinairYYZ
Why Are People So Afraid To Say "dies" posted Sat Jul 18 2009 04:37:16 by Kiwiandrew
"Dog" - Caught Using The N-Word posted Thu Nov 1 2007 09:25:55 by BCAInfoSys
Why Are People Offended By A Second Grade Riddle? posted Wed Nov 8 2006 19:46:08 by Matt D
Why Are People Afraid Of Clowns? posted Sat Apr 22 2006 22:02:58 by SmithAir747
Why Are Countries Not Spelled The Native Way? posted Wed Sep 14 2005 06:32:41 by Swisskloten
Why Are People So Offended By Everything posted Fri Nov 26 2004 00:15:32 by Planespotterx
Why Are We Still Using This Crap? posted Sun Oct 24 2004 17:36:23 by N771AN
Why Are People Leaving PA, OH, MI, NY And IN? posted Fri Mar 26 2004 10:09:47 by Techrep
Why Are Vegetables Important In The Diet? posted Tue Oct 9 2001 21:56:46 by Avion757