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In Alice Cooper’s song “Hey Stoopid” from his 1991 album, there is a verse that runs like this:

Now I know you’ve been kicked around.
You ain’t alone in this ugly town.
You stick a needle in your arm.
You bite the dust, you buy the farm.

How can anybody, a junkie apparently, “buy the farm” when he is giving up in life?

What does the verbal phrase to buy the farm mean or connote in contemporary English?

  • 1
    Welcome to ELU! This is an excellent place to ask questions like this. And, this was a good question. The one critique would be that we ask for you to google first, ask second. So, an idiom like this would be easily googled for meaning, the origin might not be so easy. – David M Mar 15 '14 at 11:56
  • Never occurred to me that this is an idiom, sorry. – firedev Mar 17 '14 at 1:19
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To "buy the farm" is simply an American expression meaning to die. Not used as frequently now as it was a few decades ago.

  • Thanks! Never occurred to me. I was thinking about this for years. What is the origin of the expression? – firedev Mar 15 '14 at 8:52
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    worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-buy1.htm claims it comes from US Air Force slang in the 1950's, and they modified it from earlier British pilot expressions. – Barmar Mar 15 '14 at 9:06
  • FWIW, bite the dust means the same thing. See also kick the bucket. Apparently, there are many ways farm-related ways to die. – George Cummins Mar 15 '14 at 15:08
  • @GeorgeCummins If you buy the plot you can spend your time pushing up daisies, taking a dirt nap and going for a Burton. – Spehro Pefhany Mar 17 '14 at 1:30

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