Bought the farm


      • to die
        To refer to someone's death, often in a sudden or unexpected manner. Can also be used figuratively to describe the end of something, such as a project or relationship.

      • to suffer a loss
        To experience a significant loss, often financial. Can also refer to losing something valuable or important, such as a job or opportunity.

      • to make a big purchase or investment
        To buy something expensive or significant, often with the use of a large amount of money. Can also refer to making a major investment in something, such as a business or property.

    Examples of Bought the farm

    • After crashing his small plane into the Colorado Rockies, the pilot was said to have bought the farm.

      This idiom is used to describe someone who dies, especially in tragic circumstances, particularly while performing an activity that involves risks, such as flying, racing cars or skiing. 'Farm' is a metaphor that was commonly used during World War I to refer to the military cemeteries in Europe where fallen soldiers were buried, as many farmers also served in the military. To say that someone 'buys the farm' is therefore to suggest that they have died, especially while performing a risky task.

    • When the experienced skier fell off the ski-lift and hurtled down the mountain at breakneck speed, his friends worried that he might buy the farm.

      As in the previous example, 'to buy the farm' signifies dying, especially suddenly and violently, while engaging in a hazardous activity.

    • The stuntman, who had narrowly avoided serious injury on the set multiple times, finally bought the farm when he fell from a thirty-foot scaffolding during a rehearsal of a dramatic climax.

      The idiom 'to buy the farm' is commonly used to suggest that someone, who has repeatedly come close to facing serious danger, has eventually died. In this case, the stuntman's repeated flirtations with death have ended fatally.

    • The veteran skydiver's family were convinced that he had bought the farm when they heard that his parachute had failed to open.

      The death of a skydiver, whose parachute has malfunctioned, is commonly referred to as 'buying the farm' and is seen as a particularly ironic twist of fate, given the risks associated with this recreational activity.References:Oxford Dictionary (2013). To buy the farm. [Online]. OUP. Available from: [Accessed 23 April 2017].

    • After his risky maneuver during the airshow, the fighter pilot was said to have "bought the farm."

      The phrase "bought the farm" is used in this context to describe a dangerous or fatal accident, particularly one involving flying or aviation. The idiom's origin is unclear, but it may come from the idea that a fatal accident could result in the pilot's debts being paid off or his farm being sold to cover the costs of such an event. Therefore, the expression "buying the farm" implies that the accident resulted in the pilot's death.

    • The drugs dealer was caught by the police and sentenced to life in prison. Some people said that he had "bought the farm."

      Although it is less common to use the idiom "bought the farm" in reference to a person's legal troubles, this usage is possible. In this case, the expression implies that the person's fate has been sealed as if they have died, and that their life is now completely over.

    • The astronaut's spaceship malfunctioned during re-entry, and he was declared missing in action. It was later discovered that he had "bought the farm."

      This example shows the versatility of the idiom "bought the farm" in describing a fatal accident, as it can be applied to a range of situations including space travel. Here, the expression denotes that the astronaut died as a result of the malfunction.

    • The software startup received millions of dollars in investment and went bankrupt soon after. They had "bought the farm."

      This modern usage of the idiom "bought the farm" demonstrates that it can be applied to financial situations as well as accidents. In this context, the expression implies that the startup's attempts at profitability and survival were unsuccessful, leading to its eventual failure and loss of the investment.


    The idiom "bought the farm" can have multiple meanings, but they all stem from the original connotation of death. It can be used to refer to someone's death, experiencing a significant loss, or making a big purchase or investment. In each case, the idiom is used to emphasize the finality and permanence of the situation.

    Origin of "Bought the farm"

    The origin of this idiom is uncertain, but there are a few theories. One popular theory suggests that it originated from the United States military in the mid-20th century. During this time, soldiers who died in combat were said to have "bought the farm" because their life insurance policies would pay off their family's mortgage, allowing them to own their own farm. As such, the phrase became a euphemism for death.

    Another theory suggests that the idiom originated from the rural farming community, where owning a farm was seen as a symbol of success and stability. Therefore, someone who had "bought the farm" had achieved this level of success and security. Over time, the phrase evolved to also include the negative connotations of death and loss.

    Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom remains a common phrase in modern English, used in both literal and figurative contexts. It serves as a reminder of the finality of death and the significance of major purchases or investments.