turn (one's) face to the wall

(redirected from turned their faces to the wall)

turn (one's) face to the wall

To die. This phrase originated in the Bible. I just learned that Lady Catherine has turned her face to the wall—what a tragedy.
See also: face, turn, wall
References in classic literature ?
If it had not been for those infallible figures which proved that Arthur, instead of pining in imprisonment, ought to be promenading in a carriage and pair, and that Mr Pancks, instead of being restricted to his clerkly wages, ought to have from three to five thousand pounds of his own at his immediate disposal, that unhappy arithmetician would probably have taken to his bed, and there have made one of the many obscure persons who turned their faces to the wall and died, as a last sacrifice to the late Mr Merdle's greatness.
Now Iceland is on its back with its legs in the air and our thoughts must turn to another sparsely populated, ill-favoured, gloomy little country on the fringe of the Arctic circle, whose banks have also just turned their faces to the wall.