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Died or Passed


I never thought I had any strong feelings about this, but now I find that one of the terms used to talk about the loss of someone to death grates on my nerves. It has gotten to the point that when this term is used, I actually take a mental pause to think, “There’s that word ‘passed’ again.”
I'm a practical realist, I guess. Not particularly patient with euphemisms. To my mind, if you can’t say that someone died, and have to used expressions like’ passed’ it’s because you haven’t come to terms with the reality.

So what say you? Passed or Died?

Comments (8)

I'll be getting on your nerves here, I think I say "passed." Although I am pretty sure I have said "died" before.

OK, giving it more thought, I think I use "passed" to describe a recent death and "died" when I am talking about someone who's been gone for years. So, I think you have a point about accepting the reality of death.

At work in the hospital, the term used is "expired." Now THAT gets on MY nerves.

Deborah responds: "expired" Ah, yes, such a clinical expression. When a medico type says expired I have the urge to ask where the expiration date is stamped. On the forehead?

Expired: ick!

I think I use both and it varies depending how who I'm talking to. I'll start paying attention now.


I'm sort of with you on this one Deb. I tend to use "died", there is no confusion with that. Passed seems to imply that something was overcome; like passed a test. Passed away is really no better. If anything perhaps the word used should change from Passed to Past. Hmm? And while we are on the subject, what is up the phrase "bought the farm," come on now, Really?

I don't say 'passed', and I don't like the term either. It seems to me that saying 'passed' is somehow trying to ignore the fact that someone DIED - but then so many people have a problem dealing with death. I personally say 'died'. And yes, 'passed' grates on my nerves too, now that you mention it.

I use passed away. I had to think about it for a bit but I think most everyone in my family uses the term.


I always use the word died.Passed just never made sense to me.Know what you mean about euphemisms. There is a popular one in So. Philly that drives me crazy for when people are shocked/speechless. It is "I remained" Always find myself thingking - you remained where?

I have almost always used passed unless the person is a very good friend or a family member. I was brought up being told that it was more polite. I do always think about which word I should say but seem fearful I will offend someone if I am more blunt (which I guess died seems to be) when I say died instead of passed to someone that I am not very close to.


My family and I had this dicussion yesterday. I say died they say passed on. So I look it up different religions say it different. Jewish say passed away cause the soul still lives on, its the human body that dies, so I've decided either way. I agree that it is kinder, however i was taught that they died they didn't pass so use what feels right

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