Dead Meat

Meaning of Idiom ‘Dead Meat’

To be dead meat means to be in serious trouble; as good as dead; dead. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,3Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.

Usage

The original meaning of dead meat, used since the mid-1800’s, was dead, but since mid-1950’s the idiom has been used as an exaggerated threat and rarely refers to actual death. 4Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Examples Of Use

“If you don’t pay me my five bucks you’re dead meat!”

“Play one of your little pranks on me and you’ll be dead meat.”

“I owe a lot of money to some bad people. I’m dead meat.”

“If I see you outside of school you’re dead meat.”

Origin

Used since the mid-1800’s, this idiom alludes to a dead body being nothing but “meat.”

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
3. Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.
4. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.