By Betty Vanderwielen

Die Hard

Funky Phrases


Public domain

Two men hung from the gallows.

"Die Hard" probably conjures up images of Bruce Willis jumping from an airplane or crawling through an air vent or walking barefoot through broken glass. But the phrase pre-dates the movie series by at least 200 years.

In 18th century England, before gallows platforms were built with trapdoors, the body of a hanged person twitched and jerked until the victim strangled to death. Sometimes condemned people arranged to have someone hang onto their legs to make their death quicker. The invention of a trapdoor, upon which the condemned stood until the door bolt was released, produced a quicker d...

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