I'm struggling to find this idiom/phrase that I've heard before that goes along the lines of "I'll die by _____" in the sense of I'll always believe that that is the absolute truth, and no one will convince me otherwise until the end of my days. But googling that exact phrase only gives me 2 results, so I know that I'm must be mistaking it with something else.

So is there any idiom that uses "die" in the context of an opinionated person that refuses to change their minds? Or is there a similar phrase for this?

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    – tchrist
    Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 0:31

13 Answers 13


You may be thinking of "willing to die on that hill" (and similar variations). From The Free Dictionary:

  1. To pursue some issue or course of action with total and wholehearted conviction, despite the difficulty and potential consequences of doing so.
  2. To defend or maintain some position or argument with total conviction, without concern as to whether or not one will be considered correct or change anyone else's opinion. Often used facetiously.

(I see now that Yosef Baskin has already suggested this in a comment above.)


It's not unheard of for people to formulate statements like "I'll die before I...". So for your question about opinions that could be "I'll die before I will accept that smooth peanut butter is better than crunchy!"

I don't know if that really counts as an idiom. The meaning is pretty clear I think but in case, it indicates the only way the speaker will stop (with their activity or their opinion or whatever) is if they die.


I believe you're looking for "live or die", a phrase for stubborn insistence on something, even if it means the speaker will die.

I will live or die by my great-grandmother's biscuit recipe.

I'm going to that Irish fiddle concert tonight, live or die.

Relatedly, there is the proverb "He that lives by the sword will die by the sword".

  • 6
    The first example should be "live and die", and probably should not be in the future tense - "I live and die by my great-grandmother's biscuit recipe". This use of "live and die" indicates complete reliance on something, but isn't a statement about future action. The second example is correct with "live or die", but it indicates something different, that the speaker will do something no matter what. Both phrases would be used by someone who has very much made up their mind about something, but they're slightly different. Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 16:34

Not directly die, but related

over my dead body

(idiomatic, usually hyperbolic) Under no circumstances; absolutely not.

"Can I get a new sports car?" "Over my dead body!"


Maybe you mean diehard?

stubbornly and vigorously resisting in the face of seemingly hopeless odds.


Could it be 'Die in a ditch'?


This expression comes from a remark attributed to King William III ( 1650–1702 ). Asked whether he did not see that his country was lost, he is said to have responded: ‘There is one way never to see it lost, and that is to die in the last ditch’.


It might be "Die on/by my sword".

A quote from José Mourinho, a famous football coach:

I’m trying to instill in them not to be scared to lose. If anyone should be scared to lose then it should be me – but I’m not. I want to go out on the front foot and if I die, I die on my sword.


I was born ___ and I'll die ___.

Examples I found on the net:

  • I was born Red and I'll die Red. [Red = Liverpool supporter]
  • I was born a Tory and I'll die a Tory.
  • I was born a German and I'll die a German.
  • No, I was born a Christian and I'll die a Christian.
  • I was born a democrat, I've lived a democrat, and I'll die a democrat.
  • I think like a chemist and I'll die a chemist.
  • England may be a bit behind the times – you are, you know – […] – but I was born English and I'll die English.
  • I am Italian, I was born Italian, and I'll die Italian.
  • That makes me the union man I am today, and I'll die union.
  • I'm a union man and I'll die a union man and I'll not give up my union rights for $200 a day.
  • I was born to be a teacher, and I'll die a teacher.
  • Born a [Chicago] Bears fan and I'll die a Bears fan!
  • I was born a European and I'll die a European.
  • Sugerman said he's not “a born-again Jew, but I was born a proud Jew, raised a proud Jew and I'll die a proud Jew.”

There's a somewhat common expression that sounds like "die" -- "dyed in the wool". It's about colored dye being put into wool (it's stuck there forever). It's used as an adjective to mean "will never change". For example, someone could be a dyed-in-the-wool New York Jets fan.

But it only works well talking about loyalty to groups. Bob could be a DITW Republican, or a DITW Star Trek fan. But it would sound wrong to say "I'm dyed in the wool that the touchdown pass in the 1994 Superbowl was in bounds and the ref cost them the game". But if that was widely believed and was called, say, "the Starston Screwjob" then "I'm a dyed in the wool Starston Screwjob believer" would be fine.


It's possible you're thinking of this:

I'll go to my grave believing/thinking X.

It has exactly the meaning you are looking for, and it involves dying, although it doesn't have the actual word.


This might not be exactly what you're looking for, but just in case, "Old habits die hard."

Meaning that old habits are difficult to change. It could be seen as a form of stubbornness.


Live by the sword, die by the sword

  • Can you elaborate to explain what this idiom has to do with stubbornness?
    – fev
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 7:01

Another related idiom is From my cold, dead hands

"I'll give you my gun when you pry (or take) it from my cold, dead hands" is a slogan popularized by the National Rifle Association (NRA) on a series of bumper stickers. It is a variation of a slogan mentioned in a 1976 report from the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency

This well-known slogan has been applied to other objects in the form "I'll give you my X when you pry / take it from my cold dead hands / fingers" or "I'll give up X when you pry it from my cold dead hands". Eg, "I'll give up my union card when you pry it from my cold dead hands". I've seen it applied to musical instruments, and even to old programming languages (like Fortran). I think I've seen it applied to more abstract nouns, too.

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