grim reaper, the
Death, as personified by a cloaked man or skeleton carrying a scythe. She's been in three really terrible car accidents but has miraculously avoided the Grim Reaper.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Fig. death. I think I have a few years to go yet before the grim reaper pays me a call.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
the Grim Reaper
The Grim Reaper is an imaginary character who represents death. He looks like a skeleton, wears a long, black cloak with a hood, and carries a scythe (= tool for cutting grass). By giving away assets while still alive, inheritance tax can be avoided entirely by the time the Grim Reaper calls. They were sitting around, waiting for the Grim Reaper.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
the Grim Reapera personification of death in the form of a cloaked skeleton wielding a large scythe.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
grim reaper, the
Death. This expression is actually a combination of the older grim death, which dates from about 1600, and the artistic depiction of death with a scythe, which began somewhat later. The first appeared in a play by Philip Massinger (1583–1640), The Roman Actor, and also in John Milton’s Paradise Lost (“Before mine eyes in opposition sits Grim Death, my son and foe”). The second appeared in a song from “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” and in Longfellow’s poem, “The Reaper and the Flowers” (“There is a Reaper whose name is Death, and, with his sickle keen”), as well as in earlier but more obscure sources.
See also: grim
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer