buy the farm

To buy the farm is to die, usually in a battle or aircraft accident. It has spawned several false explanations of its origin. The phrase as we know it dates to the 1950s, but has its roots in older variants. The farm in the phrase is a metaphor for a grave, the last plot of land a soldier will own.

The earliest variant is the phrase to buy it. From W. N. Glascock’s Naval Sketch-Book in 1825:

Never mind, in closing with Crappo, if we didn’t buy it with his raking broadsides.

Crappo in this quotation is a slang word for the French, especially used in reference to French sailors.

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