Friday, March 25, 2011

What is the origin of the saying "six feet under"

We've all heard the saying "six feet under" many times in our lives. Just where did the phrase come from exactly? Well here's your answer and it is quite interesting in fact.

The phrase "6 feet under" originated in London, England in 1665. It came about as London was being ravaged by the Beubonic Plague. The plague was so rampant that the death rate reached 7,000 per week at its height.

The mayor of London at the time issued a decree that all plague deaths had to be buried at least "6 feet under" to help halt the spread of infection. See, Londoners believed the plague could be spread by the dead as well as the living and 6 feet underground was deep enough to contain the infection.

Of course, people later learned that the plague was spread by fleas from rats. The great fire of London in 1666 that basically wiped out the rat population in the city and gave a reprieve from the plague. The city was saved from disease but the phrase "six feet under" stuck and is still widely used today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This comment is also owned by Stockport in Cheshire, The river Mersey flooded and the bodies of plague victims were found along the banks of the river. Fearing the spread of the disease the church and local parish authorities gauged that the river could not erode five foot of the surrounding areas therefore bodies were to be buried six foot under.