- Archaic burial at sea
- a discarding or disposing of something
Origin: from the custom of burial at sea in at least six fathoms
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Burial at sea.
- Disposal or rejection of something: gave all our plans the deep six.
Origin: American slang, a grave, referring to the conventional depth of a grave (six feet).
transitive verb deep-sixed, deep-six·ing, deep-six·es Slang
- To toss overboard.
- To toss out; get rid of: deep-sixed the incriminating papers.
deep-six - Cultural Definition
To dispose of, discard, or get rid of: “The board of directors deep-sixed the proposal without even reading it.” This phrase is derived from the noun “deep six,” meaning burial at sea and referring to the depth of water necessary for such a burial. The term was later used as slang for a grave (customarily six feet underground) and, by extension, as a verb meaning “to kill.”
deep-six - Phrases/Idioms
Also, give or get the deep six. Burial at sea. For example, When the torpedo hit our boat, I was sure we'd get the deep six. This expression alludes to the customary six-foot depth of most graves. [Early 1900s]
Disposal or rejection of something, as in They gave the new plan the deep six. This usage comes from nautical slang of the 1920s for tossing something overboard (to its watery grave; see def. 1). It was transferred to more general kinds of disposal in the 1940s and gave rise to the verb to deep-six, for “toss overboard” or “discard.”