in at the death


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in at the death

1. Literally, witnessing the killing of an animal. I refuse to be in at the death of an innocent deer just because you like hunting.
2. By extension, witnessing the end or collapse of something. Did you hear that Joe's proposal got rejected? Was anyone in at the death?
See also: death
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

in at the death

Also, in at the finish or kill . Involved in or present at the end, especially a disastrous end but sometimes merely the climax of an important event. For example, He had a hand in their breakup, but he didn't want to be in at the death, or They've done really well this year, and we want to be in at the kill. These expressions originally alluded to hunters and hounds being present at the death of a fox they had run to ground. [First half of 1700s]
See also: death
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

in at the death/finish

Present at the end, usually meaning at someone’s ruin, but sometimes only at the climax of an important event. The term comes from fox hunting, where, in the eighteenth century, it denoted the presence of hunters and hounds at the killing of a fox they had run to ground. By 1800 the term was being transferred to other kinds of demise.
See also: death, finish
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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