Famous last words (dying statements of famous people - a list)


      • disbelief
        Expressing skepticism or doubt about a statement or promise, often in a sarcastic or ironic manner

      • irony
        Referring to a statement or promise that turned out to be false or unfulfilled, often used humorously or cynically

      • finality
        Signifying the end or ultimate conclusion of something, often used to emphasize the significance or impact of the statement

    Examples of Famous last words (dying statements of famous people - a list)

    • "Here comes the bride," said Charles Dickens, moments before he passed away in his sleep. This is an example of the idiomatic expression "famous last words" used figuratively to describe the unexpected or ironic final statements of famous people, even if they were not actually spoken in a formal setting like a wedding ceremony.

      Dickens' last words, spoken as a hallucination, are a humorous and yet poignant reflection of his literary career, filled with vivid descriptions and plot twists that often surprised and captivated readers.

    • "Well, boys, this is it," uttered the outlaw Jesse James as he was about to be shot by a member of his own gang. This is another instance of the idiom "famous last words," where the speaker's final statement takes on a dramatic and melodramatic tone, foreshadowing their imminent demise.

      James' last words, laced with a sense of resignation and acceptance, added to the legend of the Wild West and his reputation as a notorious bandit.

    • "It's beautiful up here," exclaimed Steve Fossett, an avid adventurer, as his small plane disappeared from radar during a solo flight. This is a case where the use of the idiom "famous last words" is more ambiguous, as Fossett's words could have been genuinely meant or simply a spontaneous utterance in his final moments.

      Fossett's last words, which have been analyzed and debated by experts, reveal the complex psychology and emotions that people experience in extreme circumstances, leaving us with a sense of mystery and intrigue.

    • "I finally beat you, Pop," said Muhammad Ali, the legendary boxer, in his last conversation with his father before his death. This example demonstrates the versatility of the idiom "famous last words," which can also be applied to personal and intimate situations, such as the bond between a father and son.

      Ali's final words, charged with a mix of triumph and nostalgia, highlight the importance of family ties and the legacy of his father, a former professional boxer, who instilled in him the love and passion for the sport.

    • "Easy come, easy go" - Gilded Age financier Jim Fisk (1834-

      Fisk reportedly uttered these words after being shot by rival financier Daniel Drew in 1872. The idiom "easy come, easy go" refers to things that are easily obtained but just as easily lost.

    • "This is no time to die" - Scottish mathematician and engineer James Clerk Maxwell (1831-

      In 1879, Maxwell was struggling with a serious illness when he reportedly spoke these words. The idiom "this is no time to die" implies that the situation is not yet critical or desperate enough to warrant death.

    • "I haven't seen him for forty years" - Irish nationalist Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-

      In 1891, Parnell was mortally ill when he reportedly said these words to a friend who asked about the whereabouts of an acquaintance. The idiom "I haven't seen him for forty years" is used to express the extreme length of time that has passed since a person last saw someone else.

    • "Well, it's about time" - British politician and diplomat Balfour (Arthur James Balfour) (1848-

      In 1930, Balfour reportedly said these words just before he died at the age of 81. The idiom "well, it's about time" is used to express a sense of relief or satisfaction that an event or development has finally occurred, after what seems like an excessive delay.


    The idiom "famous last words" is typically used to express disbelief, irony, or finality in a statement or promise. It is often used in a sarcastic or humorous way to highlight the unlikelihood or impossibility of the statement coming true. It can also be used cynically to point out the failure or lack of fulfillment of a promise.

    Origin of "Famous last words (dying statements of famous people - a list)"

    The origin of this idiom can be traced back to ancient Greece, where the philosopher Socrates famously said "I drank what?" as his last words before his execution. This statement has been interpreted in various ways, but it is generally believed to be a sarcastic or ironic response to his death sentence.

    In modern times, the idiom gained popularity as a way to refer to the dying statements of famous people. It is often used in lists or compilations of these statements, adding a touch of humor or irony to the otherwise somber topic of death. It has also become a common expression in everyday conversations, used to express disbelief or skepticism in a statement or promise.