Be the death of

Cause the death of something or someone, as in This comedian is so funny, he’ll be the death of me. Although this phrase can be used literally, meaning “to kill someone or something,” it has also been used hyperbolically (as in the example) since the late 1500s. Shakespeare used it in 1 Henry IV (2:1): “Since the price of oats rose, it was the death of him.”


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  • Be the making of

    Be the means or cause of progress or success, as in Marriage will be the making of him. This idiom, using making in the sense of “advancement,” was first recorded about 1470.

  • Be the end of one

    Be one’s downfall, as in His heavy drinking may well be the end of him, or That math assignment will be the end of me. This phrase originally alluded to something that would cause someone’s death. Today, while it may be used seriously (as in the first example), it more often is used more lightly […]

  • Be there

    be there verb phrase To have the experience; learn firsthand: You have to be there to know what I mean/ I can tell you, because I’ve been there myself (1880s+)

  • Be there for

    verb phrase be available to help or support someone in a difficult circumstance

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