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A linguistic thing that's bugging me

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by , 31st March 2012 at 12:33 PM (254 Views)
Does anybody realize that the euphemisms for fainting and death, PASS AWAY and PASS OUT, sound practically the same? Take a look at these two sentences:

"My father passed out from cancer last week."
"I pass away every time I see blood."

Don't they sound the same?! Talking about someone "passing" has major double meanings (especially if it's drinking related). When I hear about someone passing away, I think "they fainted?", and when I hear somebody talking about themselves passing out, I think "they died?"

Does any linguist know why these two different things can sound so similar?

Edit: I know the meanings, the example sentences are just to show how similar they still sound if you swapped the opposite phrase.

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Updated 31st March 2012 at 05:38 PM by UnovaCastaway

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  1. GatoRage's Avatar
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    I'm afraid I don't understand.

    "My father passed out from cancer last week." sounds like he fainted/lost consciousness as a result of having cancer, as apposed to dying.

    "I pass away every time I see blood." as a sentence makes absolutely no sense to me. It implies that you die every time you see blood.
  2. Luminosity's Avatar
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    I agree with GatoRage.
  3. Kyuuketsuki's Avatar
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    Looks like the 'Linguistic thing that's bugging [you]' is not due to other people misusing the phrases...

    Pass Away = Die
    Pass Out = Faint
  4. Karma Kidd's Avatar
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    What about "Pass gas"
    "Passing salt"
    "Passing past"
    "Passing pasterfy"
  5. GatoRage's Avatar
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    It might be easier to get if we put it in some context that all of us here understand. It's basically like this:

    "That Sunkern tackled my Aggron so hard it passed out. Now I have to take it to a Pokemon Center."

    as apposed to:

    "I gave my Snubbull some really old, moldy Poffins and it passed away. Now I have to dispose of the carcass."
  6. Pyradox's Avatar
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    Or you could say 'fainted' or 'died'. Those don't sound similar, do they?
    Updated 31st March 2012 at 02:54 PM by Pyradox
  7. UnovaCastaway's Avatar
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    No, I know the meanings, I was asking why the heck the euphemisms for two totally different things, fainting and dying, sound the same?

    The sentences I gave as examples were to show how similar they woukd sound if you swapped "pass away" with "pass out" and vice versa.

    Anybody know etymology?
  8. Luminosity's Avatar
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    They don't sound similar to me. You swap them and the sentences sound odd, particularly the second one.
  9. Kyuuketsuki's Avatar
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    Oh ok.

    I don't find that they sound similar either, they only share a word, and that would be like saying words sound similar is they begin with the same grouping of letters.

    Nincada
    Nincompoop

    And like that, I don't find 'Away' and 'Out' to be similar.

    But if they do sound similar, it might have something to do with people in the past mistaking someone who has passed out to be someone who is dead, and actually burying them alive.

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