drop dead

Idioms & Phrases

drop dead

An expression of anger, rejection, or indignation toward someone. For example, I should do all that work for you? Drop dead! This rude imperative is usually hyperbolic, that is, the speaker is not literally asking someone to die on the spot. [c. 1930] Curiously, the adjective (and adverb) drop-dead is not at all insulting. Rather, it means "dazzling" or "awe-inspiring," as in She wore a drop-dead outfit that all the other women admired. This usage originated in slangy journalism in the 1960s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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