Another one bites the dust is both a reference to the popular Queen song, as well as an idiomatic phrase.
It can mean someone has died, fallen, failed a task utterly or suffered defeat.
The first documented case of the phrase emerged in the 1611 King James Bible, where it appears as “His enemies shall lick the dust” (Psalms 72,9).
“Bite the dust” was first used in its currently known form in Tobias Smollett’s 1748 translation of “The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane”.
It was also used by Samuel Butler in his translation of Homer’s “The Illiad”.
The phrase would be used in the Western genre of the 1900’s, referring to gunslingers and cowboys who had fallen.
However, the expression was truly popularized in 1980, when Queen released their song, titled “Another One Bites the Dust” which charted number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks.
The clause was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2004.
- Ultimateclassicrock.com – How ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ Became Surprisingly Heavy
- Daily Bruin – The origins of ‘another one bites the dust’