As a non-native English speaker one of the things I'm struggling with while writing is idiomatic knowledge of English, specifically spoken English and with it, jargon, phrasing, and euphemisms. Perhaps there is a book or a dictionary I will procure in the future. For now I'm researching various euphemisms online and look what I stumbled upon.
EUPHEMISMS FOR DEATH
to bite the dust – often used of cowboys or desperadoes and suggests a violent end.
to buy the farm – this one may have originated as soldiers’ slang, the idea being that soldiers dreamed of surviving the war and going home to a peaceful existence, perhaps on a farm. However, there was an earlier expression, “fetch the farm,” which was prisoner slang for being “sent to the infirmary.”
to cash in one’s chips – a gambling metaphor: when the chips are exchanged for money, the game is over. Kenny Rogers’s “The Gambler” is an extended metaphor for card game as life and death.
to give up the ghost – to modern ears this probably suggests a Caspar-type ghost floating up out of a dead body. The original meaning of Old English “gast” was “soul, spirit, life, breath.” In some prayers we find the formula “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
to croak – probably from the “death rattle” heard when a person dies.
to kick the bucket – Ex. When I kick the bucket, you can have the Harley. So, the old coot finally kicked the bucket! Popular etymology links this term to the idea of committing suicide by standing on a bucket and then kicking it away. More likely, the expression originates from the practice of hoisting animals to be slaughtered to a beam or pulley arrangement called a “buquet.” In English this French word came to be pronounced like “bucket.” The animals were hoisted by their heels and could therefore be said to be “kicking the buquet/bucket” as their throats were slashed.
The article mentions more of them, like pushing up daisies, being in Abraham’s bosom, sleeping the big sleep, having gone to one’s narrow bed, having gone to one’s reward, having met one’s maker, and having gone to feed the fishes.
Wow. Any more out there? Is there a book on this you would recommend?