under pain of death

under pain of death

With the threat of dying or being executed as a punishment. (Sometimes used hyperbolically.) The prisoners were forced to march under pain of death from the POW camp across the burning desert. I am under strict instructions by my wife not to leave the house in disarray by the time she comes back from her trip, under pain of death!
See also: death, of, pain
References in classic literature ?
I reminded Charmian of the canoe houses from which she had been barred in the South Pacific, where the kinky-haired cannibals escaped from their womenkind and feasted and drank by themselves, the sacred precincts taboo to women under pain of death.
For are there not ill-ordered States in which the citizens are forbidden under pain of death to alter the constitution; and yet he who most sweetly courts those who live under this regime and indulges them and fawns upon them and is skilful in anticipating and gratifying their humours is held to be a great and good statesman-- do not these States resemble the persons whom I was describing?
As for the militia, the militia law of 1903 was put into effect, and the workers of one state were compelled, under pain of death, to shoot down their comrade-workers in other states.
Society, not from any tenderness, but because of its strange needs, had taken care of those two men, forbidding them all independent thought, all initiative, all departure from routine; and forbidding it under pain of death.
Intelligent, articulate people who perform high-level jobs turn into jelly at pieces of paper requiring them to fill in their name and date of birth, I cannot count how many times I have filled in an entire form with blue pen, only to see the bit at the bottom that says fill in with black pen only, and why is it that the box you are supposed to sign and cannot write outside of under pain of death, is too small to fit your name in?
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag was condemned to death on 15 May under the Islamic Sharia law that has been in place since 1983 and outlaws conversions under pain of death.
Selected concentration camp inmates worked under pain of death to produce bogus banknotes and the film revisits key events from these tumultuous years through the eyes of master forger Salomon Sorowitsch (Markovics).
But Peter has changed all that - everybody is buzzing and his team-mates tell me their kids are nagging them to get his autograph under pain of death if they fail.
With regard to crypto-Jews, Kraus said that ``only good will come'' of the profession of Judaism by the descendants of those who were forced under pain of death to renounce it.
Mr O Bradaigh said: "Threats issued under pain of death were stated to have included warnings not to speak against the Stormont Agreement and to make amends within a fortnight.
Palling was under pain of death if he had not returned with Lilanita (went to 4,500gns to obey his better half) as the filly is owned by his wife Margorie, who has had plenty of success with just two broodmares.
I'm under pain of death not to reveal anything about the script," said Caine.