CIP School in the Phils.

A fate worse than death

on January 12, 2014

coat and tie

A fate worse than death

A fate worse than death

A fate worse than death


Any misfortune that would make life unlivable, especially rape or loss of virginity. The phrase was formally a euphemism for rape.


This phrase originally attested to the belief that a dishonoured woman was better off dead. It is still used, but ironically of late. The earlier view was expressed in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1781:

“The matrons and virgins of Rome were exposed to injuries more dreadful, in the apprehension of chastity, than death itself.”

The current version of the phrase was used in several works from 1810 onward but was probably brought into public use via Edgar Rice Burroughs’ widely read Tarzan of the Apes, 1914:

“[The ape] threw her roughly across his broad, hairy shoulders, and leaped back into the trees, bearing Jane Porter away toward a fate a thousand times worse than death.”


One day a farmer A bigger bang for your buck A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush A bunch of fives A chain is only as strong as its weakest link A countenance more in sorrow than in anger A Daniel come to judgement A diamond in the rough A diamond is forever A dish fit for the gods A drop in the bucket A fate worse than death A feather in one hat A fish out of water A fish rots from the head down A fly in the ointment A fool and his money are soon parted A fool paradise A foot in the door A foregone conclusion A friend in need is a friend indeed A golden key can open any door A good man is hard to find A hard man is good to find Everyone says I love you Horse feathers Mans best friends


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