Learn English Online - Idiomatic Expressions

Definition of Idiomatic Expressions


What does over my dead body mean?

Meaning of idioms with examples...

over my dead body


If you say something will happen over your dead body, you mean that you will not allow it to happen.


The phrase has been in use for centuries. One of the earliest uses was by Harriet Beecher Stowe in Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1850:
“I’ll give my last drop of blood, but they shall not take you from me. Whosoever gets you must walk over my dead body!”

This hyperbolic adverbial phrase is used as a defiant phrase showing the strength of one's resistance to something. What it means is that someone is ready to do whatever they can to stop something from happening.

One may imagine that the expression was first used in serious situations a long time ago. Warriors would defend whatever they cared about and would not surrender until they were killed. To get what they want, the other person would have to kill the knight and walk over his body.

The phrase is also used jokingly. For instance, a mother would respond to her overweight son who wants more chocolate: “that will be over my dead body”


He says he will become our new manager. Over my dead body!
Sure, you can marry my daughter! Over my dead body.
You want more chocolate. Well, that will be over my dead body.

This idiom is in the parts of the body category

More idioms