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1. noun Death or burial at sea. Likely a reference to six fathoms of water being the standard depth at which to bury bodies at sea. Usually used in the forms "get the deep six" or "give someone the deep six." We were all afraid we'd be getting the deep six when our boat was caught in that huge storm. I'm been a sailor all my life, so when my time comes, please give me the deep six out in the Pacific.
2. noun Death in general; the grave. A reference to the standard six-foot depth of a grave. I'm starting to fear that our key witness may have been given the deep six at the hands of the mob. We are all heading for the deep six eventually, so you may as well make the most of the time you're given.
3. noun By extension, a rejection, disposal, or elimination (of someone or something. The studio decided to give the film the deep six after its budget began getting out of hand. The president's chief of staff got the deep six after it came to light that she had lied about her qualifications. After nearly 30 years of service, fabled warship is finally getting the deep six.
4. verb To reject, dispose of, or eliminate (someone or something). We're going to have to deep six this whole thing if it doesn't start coming together soon. The director just announced that we're deep sixing our moonshots program.
deep-six (someone or something)
To eliminate or dispose of someone or something. A reference to the standard six-foot depth of a grave. The studio decided to deep-six the film after its budget began getting out of hand. The president deep-sixed his chief of staff after it came to light that she had lied about her education.
deep-six someone or something
Sl. to get rid of someone or something; to dispose of someone or something. (Refers originally to burying someone or something six feet deep, the standard depth of a grave.) Take this horrible food out and deep-six it. That guy is a pain. Deep-six him so the cops will never find him.
To abandon, reject, or otherwise get rid of. This slangy term dates from the mid-1900s and originated in the navy, where it meant throwing something or someone overboard. The “six” refers to the six-foot nautical fathom, the standard unit of measurement for sea depth. It soon was adopted into civilian language, as in an editorial about Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s chances for national office: “I’d deep-six the joke [he tells] about the wily old farmer who pretends he’s feeding an alligator in order to scare some naked coeds out of a swimming hole” (Scot Lehigh, Boston Globe, March 11, 2005).