Euphemisms for death

The topic of euphemisms (委婉词语 wěiwăncíyŭ) for death in Chinese came up in conversation with a few colleagues last night. I have listed a few here taken from Chang Jingyu's Hanyu cihui yu wenhua (Chinese Lexicon and Culture), Beijing: Beijing daxue chubanshe, 1995: 36-38.

1. Deceased Relatives or Friends

死 sĭ
去世 qùshì
病故 bìnggù
过去 guòqù
离开我们了líkāi wǒmen le (colloquial)
走了 zǒule (colloquial)

2. Public Figures

逝世 shìshi
谢世 xièshi

3. Revolutionary Martyrs

牺牲 'sacrifice' (xīshēng)
献身 'lay down one’s life (xiànshēn)

4. Emperors

驾崩 jiàbēng (lit: 'to topple or overturn the chariot')
山陵崩 shānlíngbēng
宫车宴驾 gōngchē yànjià

5. Taoists monks

仙游 xiànyóu
登山 dēngshān
归天 guītiān
骑鹤归西 qíhé guīxī (lit: 'ride the crane and return to the West')

6. Buddhist monks

圆 寂 yuánjì
归西 guīxī
灭度 mièdù
归寂 guījì

7. Terms for death in Ming and Qing literature

命绝 míngjuè (lit: 'cut off life')
升天shēngtiān (lit: 'to ascend to heaven')
自尽 zìjìn (lit: 'self-exhaust-'to commit suicide')
断气 duànqì (lit: 'to cut or sever breath')
投井 tóujĭng (lit: 'throw or hurl oneself into a well')
寻短见 xún duănjiàn ( 'commit or attempt suicide')
命归黄泉 míngguī huángquán
归山道 guī shāndào

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