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Difference between Die on one’s feet and Die standing up

die on one’s feet—

1. die while still working; keep working till the end:

  • Harvey spent the next week working on the generator. He had died on his feet.

2. fight and give one’s life courageously:

  • Rather than surrender without a fight, the exhausted army fought bravely to the bitter end and died on their feet.

3. become absolutely exhausted (also: be dead on one’s feet):

  • I was cheered the whole way round and this really helped over the last two miles when I was dying on my feet.

Note: The expression does not fully correlate in meaning with the phrase die in one’s boots—(also: die with one’s boots on)

1. = die on one’s feet 1:

  • I suppose I’ll have to retire one day, but that’s a long way off. I’d much rather die in my boots.

2. = die on one’s feet 2:

  • “General,” he later reported to Dodge, “they died in their boots but brought peace.”

3. die a violent death:

  • Charlie talked of the early days in the Marshalls when every white man lived like a prince, and died in his boots from a bullet or a spear.

die standing up = die on one’s feet 2:

  • Kurdish people throughout southern Turkey have decided they would rather die standing up than spend their lives on their knees.