turn (over) in (one's) grave(redirected from turn in their graves)
turn (over) in (one's) grave
To (hypothetically) show enormous anger, disfavor, or regret for someone's actions or something that happens after one has died. That is, if someone were still alive, they would be greatly upset, angered, or disgusted by what has happened. I can't believe you're using our employees' pension payments to prop up a Ponzi scheme. The founder of this once-great company would be turning in his grave to see its directors stoop so low. Your poor mother would turn over in her grave if she heard the horrible things you were saying about your sister. I can't believe you wrecked your grandfather's prized truck. That's enough to make him turn over in his grave!
turn (over) in one's graveand roll (over) in one's grave
Fig. to show enormous disfavor for something that has happened after one's death. If our late father heard you say that, he'd turn over in his grave. Please don't change the place around too much when I'm dead. I do not wish to be rolling in my grave all the time.
turn in one's grave
Also turn over in one's grave. Be very upset. This idiom is used only of a dead person, who in all likelihood would have been upset by developments in question, as in If she knew you'd sold her jewelry, she'd turn over in her grave. [Late 1800s]
would turn in your graveBRITISH or
would turn over in your graveAMERICAN
COMMON If you say that someone who is dead would turn in their grave, you mean that they would be very angry or upset about something which is happening now, if they knew about it. Churchill would turn in his grave if he could hear the poor quality of the public speaking in Parliament these days. If the person who wrote that song could hear that guy sing it, he'd turn over in his grave. Note: You can also say that someone would be spinning in their grave. My grandfather would be spinning in his grave if he could see what had been done to his house.
turn (or turn over) in their graveused to express the opinion that something would have caused anger or distress in someone who is now dead.
1998 Spectator There was a lot of buzz at Jeff Koons's studio…But the grinding noise one heard was Peter Fuller turning in his grave.