Bought the Farm Meaning
This expression is a euphemism for dying which usually appears in the simple past tense.
Origin of Bought the Farm
This expression likely has its origins in pilots’ slang, probably from jet fighters in the U.S. Air Force.
Early versions of this expression included bought it, meaning to pay for something with one’s life. Other versions include bought a plot, referring to a burial plot.
The specific expression bought the farm appeared around the 1950’. Sources speculate that it comes from a plane that crashed on a farm, and a farmer who sued to get compensation for damage from the plane.
Other sources speculate that it comes from pilots who died while fighting, whose families got financial aid due to the pilots’ deaths.
Examples of Bought the Farm
In this conversation, a mother and daughter are talking about a great aunt who recently passed away.
Daughter: I just got a birthday letter from Great Aunt Bertha! That’s so sweet of her.
Mother: Oh, darling, I’m so sorry to tell you this, but I just heard the news earlier today. Aunt Bertha has departed.
Daughter: Departed? Where to?
Mother: I mean to say that she is no longer with us.
Mother: She bought the farm, dear. She passed away. She’s dead.
Daughter: Oh no!
In this example, two coworkers are upset because a third coworker, Ron, passed away.
Dave: Did you hear the bad news about Ron?
Ben: I heard he wasn’t doing so well, but I guess that’s normal when you’re in your 90s. I can’t believe he still is working!
Dave: Well, he’s not anymore. He bought the farm last night, around 2 in the morning.
Ben: Oh, no. Rest in peace, Ron.
This excerpt is from an article about a man who wrote his own obituary.
Angus B. MacDonald “bought the farm” on March 25.
“So, the world doesn’t have Angus MacDonald to kick around anymore,” he wrote. “I’m gone! The devil finally called my name. The grim reaper came for me on Friday, March 25, 2016.” –Kansas City Star
This excerpt is from a review of a superhero TV show.
- At first, I liked the re-introduction of Cupid as a warrior against love as opposed to the crazy ex-girlfriend she represented during her debut in Season 3. Now, stung by the death of two of her assumed loves (Deadshot is actually dead, and she thinks the Arrow bought the farm as well), this lunatic wants to kill celebrity couples so the world can “know her truth.” –LA Times
The saying bought the farm is another way to say that someone is deceased without saying that the person is dead directly.