not long for this world

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Adjective[edit]

not long for this world (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) Unlikely to endure for much more time.
    • 1787, John Quincy Adams, Charles Francis Adams, editor, Life in a New England Town, 1787, 1788: Diary of John Quincy Adams, (1903) page 109:
      Townsend went there with us, but found himself so unwell that he went home very early. His cough has return'd, with several disagreeable symptoms. I fear exceedingly that he is not long for this world.
    • 1843 Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, book 1, ch. 6, Hero-Worship:
      He thinks that said soul will have to be resuscitated from its asphyxia; that if it prove irresuscitable, the man is not long for this world.
    • 1928, Dorothy L. Sayers, "The Undignified Melodrama of the Bone of Contention", in Dorothy L. Sayers: the complete stories, (2002) page 92:
      But I've had a warning, and I'm not long for this world."
      "Not long for this world? Oh, nonsense, Plunkett. You mustn't talk like that. A touch of indigestion, that's what you've got, I expect.
    • 2006, Richard Peck, The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts, page 188:
      Though Aunt Maud had always maintained she was not long for this world, she outlived all her generation.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Only used as a predicate.
  • Variant forms substitute for "world": "here", "this earth", "this life", "these parts", "this world".
  • Other variants soften "long", as: "not much longer for this world".