Posted 09-19-2002 at 11:22:48
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Here is a few I found.
Bought the farm
From Mark Palos: To my knowledge, in the U.S. "to buy the farm" is to die. I have heard this originated do to a cynical way of looking at the lifespan's and earnings of the lower/ immigrant classes of the industrial revolution. City people wishing to buy a farm to retire to in their "golden years" would usually die before actually reaching this goal. Therefore, their burial plot was the only lot of land they would own. Hence, they finally "bought the farm."
From James O'Donnell: This comes from the early barn-storming days of American Aviation. It refers to a pilot who crashed and burned. Thus he retired suddenly from aviation and, so to speak, bought the farm.
From Tyler Klan: I believe that "bought the farm" has to do with the amount of time to pay off a farm mortgage. It takes so long to buy a farm, that rarely does one acheive the task in a lifetime. Since it is nearly impossible to buy a farm in a normal life span, the last payment will come due after the poor farmer has died.
Frank comments: I had heard that this relates to the barnstorming days of American Aviation. It was not uncommon for pilots to make forced/crash landings in farmer's fields. In so doing, they often ruined whatever was growing in that field. Farmers would charge pilots for the damage caused. Later the phrase came to suggest that the pilot didn't survive the crash.
Definitions from Steve Sabram: 1) Until recently, US military veterans while in service, had their mortgages of their land promised to be paid by the US Govt. if they were killed in action. Thus if you were killed (most notably aircraft pilots) the mortgage of your land was paid in full and hence you "bought the farm". 2) A Biblical reference referring to Heaven as a "farm of the soul" -- I can't quote the exact passage but I believe it is Old Testament. -- and if you were killed, especially in service the Lord, you had you place in Heaven and thus "bought the farm".