The phrase Pushing Up Daisies is an euphemistic idiom for death, similar to Kick the Bucket.
It alludes to the fact that flowers grow on graves. As such, it’s a more gentle way of saying that someone has died.
Despite its morbid connotations, “Pushing Up Daisies” is often used humorously. For example, you might say “I’m going to be pushing up daisies if I don’t get my homework done” to convey your frustration at not getting something done in time.
Unlike many idiomatic phrases and metaphors, “Pusing Up Daisies” is an expression with a concrete, known origin.
It was coined by Wilfred Owen in between 1917 and 1918, in his poem about The Great War, titled A Terre (French for “to the earth” or “into the ground”). The poem aims to invoke the philosophy of soldiers, which is centered around dying.
The poem goes, as follows:
“’Pushing up daisies,’ is their creed, you know.”
Following the publication of the poem in 1918, the metaphor was adopted by the general public, relatively quickly, spreading across the United Kingdom, Great Britain, to even the United States.
“Pushing Up Daisies” had become a widely used idiom within a short timespan – by the outbreak of the Second World War, it was already commonly used across the entire Anglosphere.
It also inspired several works of art, including music, like the song of The Brothers Osborne and television series, like Pushing Daisies, which ran between 2007 and 2009.
The expression is also included in the lyrics of countless pieces.
Overall, “Pushing Up Daisies” is one of the most popular euphemisms for death, due to the fact, that it invokes thoughts of uniting with nature, and creating something beautiful in the afterlife.