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Take it to the grave

[ 2009-05-05 11:19]     字号 [] [] []  
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Take it to the graveReader question: This – Take it to the grave – is the title of a song. What does it mean?

My comments: I haven’t had the pleasure of listening to that song, but “take it to the grave”, the saying is a commonplace enough idiom.

Grave is the pit wherein you, I mean, your body lie after you’re gone, gone from this world, that is.

And so if you take something to the grave with you, you’re going to die with it, such as your mobile phone.

I’m not kidding, some people take to their gadgets so much that not even death can do them apart (See below, media example 3).

Anyways, that’s what “take it to the grave” means. Usually, though, it refers to not your I-Phone but rather things you want to hide from other people. In other words secrets, dark secrets such as, for example, a guilty past. By taking it to the grave, you’re not going to tell them to anyone before you die – I guess not after, either, if you know what I mean.

Anyways, here are media examples:

1. A headline (The Independent, December 11, 2006): Augusto Pinochet 1915-2006: He took his crimes to the grave.

2. Paul Newman, who died last week, took a carefully guarded secret to his grave — something that would have disgraced him in Hollywood. Did he have a secret mistress? (No, that wouldn’t bother anybody.) Did he have a clandestine fleet of SUVs? (Now that’s more like it.) Was he addicted to McDonald’s hamburgers? No, Paul Newman was a cautious but increasingly open supporter of nuclear power. … For a public figure, however — especially one connected with Hollywood — support for nuclear power is a risky position to take. Newman long directed the profits from his food business, Newman’s Own, into the Newman’s Own charitable foundation. His board of directors warned him that becoming an advocate of nuclear power would endanger fund-raising. “He told me that he had once written an oped in opposition to clear-cutting in the Northwest, and logging supporters had boycotted several restaurants that served Newman’s Own salad dressings,” said Beller. “He was very concerned that any public statements might hurt small businesses that carried his products.” - Newman’s Own, Article.nationalreview.com, October 03, 2008.

3. According to Ed Defort, publisher of American Funeral Director magazine, one of the top funeral requests today comes from people who want to be buried with their cell phones. Other gadgets, like Blackberrys, Game Boys and iPods are also popular take-it-to-the-grave items, but apparently none so popular as the cell phone. In a 2007 survey of common funeral rite requests conducted by British charity Age Concern, being buried with a mobile phone was second only to being cremated with a pet’s ashes. (Other common requests involved performing various actions to make sure the survey respondent was actually dead prior to burial.) - Voice from the Grave: Can You Hear Me Now? PerfectMemorials.com, April 16, 2009.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


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