dead man walking
Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
A phrase traditionally used in U.S. prisons to announce a condemned prisoner being walked to the place of execution. Its use has expanded as a euphemism for anyone facing an impending and unavoidable loss.
- A condemned prisoner walking to a death chamber or other place of execution.
- Someone who is soon to die.
- Someone who is about to face an unavoidable loss (though the person may not realize it). When used in this way it is a metaphor comparing this loss to dying.