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[talking to Ash about a very aged and weak Stoutland]
"Stoutland isn't hurt, and it doesn't have any serious illness. It's just that Stout—" [door slams shut before she can finish her sentence]
Nurse Joy, Pokémon Sun and Moon, Episode 21

Certain concepts considered "too sensitive" are only ever referred to by euphemisms.

The most common example is euphemisms for death in children's shows, even in cases where a character is killed and they are rendered dead, the script will never use those two words. Almost always, the writers don't even get very creative with poetic descriptions, and will apply basic synonyms of "destroyed" to living things that we usually associate with inanimate objects, or have the characters unable to finish their sentences ("Is he...?"). Hell is also constantly neutered; when the plot absolutely needs something similar, they often resort to calling them "Nether-something" (of course, except for the Netherlands, aka Holland) or even "Another Dimension".

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Another frequent method is to hastily add dialogue that suggests the people we've just indirectly seen killed didn't really die, e.g. showing a city being destroyed, and having a character note: "Good thing everyone in that city evacuated at the last minute!"

For one reason or another, children's shows also shy away from using "God." Whenever religion comes into play, it is generally replaced with something along the lines of "the big guy". This one also has its roots in ancient tradition: in Judaism, it is considered blasphemous to use any of God's various actual names except in specific prayers, so His titles ("God" is considered a title; also "the Lord", "the Name", etc) are used instead. Jews don't say or write their God's real name, and this even extends to combinations of letters which spell out parts of it. Words such as Damn and Hell will likely be replaced by "Dang it!" while Hell is replaced by underworld or Hades and so on.

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It should be noted that one likely reason for this trope is because the writers and producers seem to think that their target demographic is too immature to grasp the concept of somebody dying, or alternatively will be horribly traumatised - rationales that in fact cancel each other out. Some people reason that the belief that since children may not be able to understand death they should be subjected to a villain who plans to destroy them, insults and desensitizes everybody. Another point is that if death is too sensitive for children of a certain age, they probably ought not to be watching a show or movie in which people, you know, die. If you as a writer are aiming specifically at children that age, maybe write stories in which no one dies or is in danger of dying. This trope could be seen as the writers trying to have it both ways.

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One major exception is the verboseness of a Big Bad usually makes the trope work for him.

Also note that just because a character didn't mention any variation of "dead", "die" or "death", that doesn't automatically make it an example of this trope. Saying something like "It's time to smash you into pieces!" isn't this trope. Saying "It's time to defeat you!" is, because "defeat" is directly used in replacement of "kill". "Smash you into pieces" is used for specific wording emphasis. This is not a trope for every single examples where a villain uses wording to do with something other than death when confronting the hero, or vice-versa.

It should be noted also, that this isn't for examples in which a show has a character being "taken away" instead of killed. If the character really was taken away, then it's not an example of this trope. If the character was obviously killed but instead they refer to their death with "they were taken away", of if a certain version of something changes a character's death scene so they never died, then it is an example. This isn't for complaining about scenes where a character was "killed off the show" in a way other than death, which is simply Put on a Bus.

Please note as well, that this also isn't for complaining about examples where a disaster of some kind resulted in no deaths. If said disaster is something where it's insane to think that no one got injured at all, then it's an example. If it's a disaster in which no one getting killed isn't an unreasonable occurrence, then it is not.

This is sometimes Played for Laughs when what seems to be a euphemism is in fact a Literal Metaphor — "Grandma's gone to a better place; I hope she enjoys her Caribbean cruise" — causing people to mistakenly believe the person died; in those cases they're No Longer with Us.

Usually a form of Executive Meddling. Compare with: Gosh Dang It to Heck!, Unusual Euphemism, Frothy Mugs of Water, The Disease That Shall Not Be Named, Conveniently Empty Building and No Endor Holocaust. Coming closer and closer to becoming a Discredited Trope. When used as an actual in-world element, it's Double Speak or a Deadly Euphemism. Contrast Try Not to Die. Often, but not always, foisted on the Badbutt, who will instead use words like "toast" or "beat." If they're allowed to say "kill" and "die" but aren't allowed to actually kill characters, then it's Nobody Can Die. If you're looking for a character who never says die — who never quits and won't back down even in the face of death — then it's Determinator.

Be sure to bear in mind that the above does not apply to the Western culture as a whole as not all of us really live in America or any other Anglo-Saxon country for that matter. In most of Europe, for instance, creators usually don't shy away from using words like "die" or "kill" (or those with religious connotations) as long as their shows are aimed at least at school-age kids.

But please note as well that just because 'defeated' or 'eliminated' is used in replace of "killed", or "they were...taken from us..." is used instead of "they were...killed", it doesn't make it an example of this trope either. Sometimes alternatives are used because they sound flashier, have a better impact, or because the enemies really do just get "defeated" and fade away. After all, the creators often don't want their characters coming off as cold-blooded killers. This is for examples in which it is obviously censored due to the fact that they don't want to mention death. Any other form of replacing death with anything else does NOT count as this trope.

If you're looking for the album Never Say Die, go here.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • 4Kids Entertainment became synonymous with this trope in the anime fandom.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
      • Like DBZ, almost every mention of death is switched out for "sent to the Shadow Realm" in the 4Kids translation. Which makes it sound even worse if you know the concept of Heaven and Hell and think of "send to the shadow realm" as a euphemism for "condemn to Hell" body and soul. Sometimes they didn't use the Shadow Realm wording, though, when the story arcs being worked on didn't leave place to put it in. Namely, Pegasus's researchers "vanishing" after researching the God Cards, Noah getting "his body inutilized" (and later "saving himself in a backup file" when his Virtual World is destroyed), Amelda's little brother getting "captured" by the Kaiba Corp, Raphael's family being "saved" by lifeboats after a shipwreck, etc. This is because the network censors can't interfere with 4Kids's productions when they're not made for television. 4Kids's reputation for over-the-top censorship actually comes from the network censors.
      • They did get away with one: Noah's five generals were said to be 'scattered throughout the virtual world' when Noah caused them to flicker out of existence in a fit of You Have Failed Me. Likely, in the Japanese version, they were deleted. However, as mentioned before, the whole virtual world was later destroyed! Noah was said to be saved to a backup file, but no such thing was said about them, so they're definitely Killed Off for Real.
      • Averted in the first season, where all deaths, implied deaths, and attempted murders were actually retained. Also averted in the duel between Yugi and brainwashed Joey in Season 2..."death" isn't stated, but it's very clear that the loser of the duel will not end up in the Shadow Realm if they are dragged underwater by an anchor, nor will Tea end up there if a giant crate is dropped on her.
      • Also averted in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light by Anubis. Quite ironic since the movie was made by 4Kids.
        Anubis: It is no longer time to duel. Now it is time to die!
      • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: All mentions of death are replaced to being "sent to the stars", though death was still heavily implied. It became rather awkward when the Supreme King/Jaden's Superpowered Evil Side went on a genocidal rampage.
    • One Piece: Death was avoided, to say the least. Kuina's death from falling down stairs was changed to having her be crippled by the friends of man she defeated (which is arguably worse), Belle-Mere was "imprisoned in a dungeon for the rest of her life", etc. When death wasn't changed to something else, it was very much toned down. Listening to Johnny and Yosaku talking about how they saw Nami "finishing Usopp off" was a nice source of Narm. There's also the guy who, in the manga, was shot in the head by one of Shanks' crew. In the anime, this scene still ran... with Shanks telling the 'dead' man's crewmates "When he wakes up, tell him it was a popgun". Earlier episodes were okay with threats of killing and euphemisms for death, though.
    • Shaman King managed to replace all the "die"s for "destroy"s, which is quite an accomplishment on an anime about ghosts. And given the context, "destroy" can sometimes sound even more gruesome.
    • Sonic X: The dub went out of its way to make sure nobody died; 4Kids didn't just replace instances of 'die' and 'kill', they also added dialogue to make sure viewers couldn't even interpret people as dead. For example, in the Sonic Adventure arc episode with Perfect Chaos, several fighter planes are downed while in combat with the monster. The camera shifts to a few people that are lamenting the condition of the city, and then, offscreen, you hear a voice that says "Don't worry! The pilots are okay!" What's even worse is that said people shouldn't even be in the city. They were all evacuated according to an earlier TV report. There is also the treatment regarding Maria. In the video games and the Archie comics, she was shot dead/fatally wounded by a G.U.N. soldier. This is canon, and plays a good part in Shadow's storyline. In the dub, Maria was instead 'taken away' (though from the dialogue and sloppy editing, one could argue that they meant 'take her BODY away'). Not only does this completely fuck up Shadow's motivation (Did Maria die of her NIDS off-screen? If Maria is still alive, why is he trying to help destroy the planet rather than trying to find her and where is she now?) it also ruins a particularly dramatic scene where we see the soldier who killed Maria and has serious mental issues from the experience. There's also Molly from season 3. In the original, she is given a touching Heroic Sacrifice, while in the dub, she just flies off in the middle of the battle, talking about how she won't stop fighting, and then never shows up again, for some reason. The editing is so jumpy, sloppy, and awkward it's hilarious. Seeing how it was carried out, it's still quite obvious that she died and that something was done to the footage.
    • Despite being dubbed by 4Kids, Pokémon frequently averted this, especially in the movies and during Kanto. It also played it straight as many references to dying and death from the Japanese version were censored or replaced with euphemisms. In an early episode of the dubbed version, Brock's father straight up said Brock's mother passed away, but this turned into a Dub-Induced Plot Hole when Brock's mother showed up later.
    • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! sometimes did this and sometimes didn't; one of the episodes ends with King Dedede thinking he'd caused Kirby's death and giving him a funeral, only to find out he's still alive. This scene remained unscathed. However, Knuckle Joe's first appearance was hit by this, with him saying his father was "destroyed" and he's going to find the one who did this and "do the same thing he did to my father". The episode was otherwise left mostly unedited.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • In Funimation's original 1996 dub, dialogue was arbitrarily changed to turn "kill" into "send to another dimension". This could get quite unwieldy: "My next attack is so powerful, it will destroy this planet and send everyone on it to another dimension!" or "Yeah, Frieza's attack sent me to another dimension, and I need you to wish me back with the Dragon Balls!" The censors initially didn't even allow the use of the next most common euphemism, "destroy". The afterlife was also referred to only as "another dimension" for a sizable chunk of the series. Since the series' uncancelling, the censorship was lessened. Often a good source of comedy in any case because the replacement words are so ridiculous. This got especially hilarious in the Garlic Jr. Movie, where they actually did defeat the bad guy by sending him to another dimension. In contrast, the name of both the movie (which aired on the same channel and often in a similar time slot as the tv series) and the dimension that said bad guy was sent to is The Dead Zone. Also, the word "die" is used in the commercial spots that aired during the tv series to advertise the movie, as well.
      • Humorously, the uncut English dubs still use the term "Otherworld" to refer to the afterlife...but in that case they're actually being true to the original text. Much like the Underworld in Classical Mythology, Dragon Ball cosmology puts Heaven, Hell, and other celestial places (like the home planet of the Gods of Creation) in a single realm just called "the other world" (anoyo) in Japanese. As mentioned below, the uncut dubs are perfectly fine with saying "kill", "die", "See You in Hell", and the like.
    • The original dub of Dragon Ball Z changed "HELL" (which was on the T-shirts of the people who worked there) to "HFIL" — "Home For Infinite Losers." This resulted in an odd in-congruence later on, when the DVDs' subtitles and closed captioning often referred to Hell, while the dialogue did not. The censoring of the Hell staff's t-shirts resulted in the phrase "what the HFIL" among the Dragon Ball Z fandom.
    • The beginning of the series had even more horrible mangling beyond "another dimension." Take, for example, when Nappa and Vegeta land on Earth for the first time in the middle of a bustling city. Nappa, just for the hell of it, destroys the entire city, and the last thing we see before it goes up in flames is a huge, bewildered crowd of people. The very next line is "They may have evacuated, but that'll teach them!". Yes, the entire town evacuated in two seconds. Talk about outrunning the fireball.
    • They also destroyed a building, lamenting the fact that it was empty because it was Sunday. Yes, these aliens who just arrived from another planet know exactly how we keep track of time and that we take Sundays off in some cultures.
    • Then came the scene where Nappa takes out a couple of news vehicles. One, a futuristic hover vehicle, is handwaved as a robot drone, but the second, a chopper, was explicitly shown to have people in it before it blew up. So they dubbed in Tienshinhan's voice saying "Look, I can see their parachutes! They're okay." despite the fact that there is clearly no indication of either a parachute, let alone any survivors in the first place.
    • Parodied in the abridged series ("Oh my God! They blew up the cargo robot! And the cargo was people!"), and in the alternative reality series (Frieza, after destroying Planet Vegeta, says "There go all the Saiyans. Oh wait, it's OK, I can see their parachutes!"). It's also Parodied in the Trapped in TV Land episode of The Fairly OddParents!. Timmy tells Vicky in the DBZ parody that she can have the magic remote "over my cold, non-moving, limited-animation body!"
    • When Chaozu blows himself up trying to take out Nappa, Tien recalls that Chaozu has already been wished back to life with the dragonballs once. He shakes his fist and screams, "Now it's gonna be a lot harder to wish him back!" As far as Tien knows, it's impossible to wish Chaozu back — the Namekian dragonballs are introduced later.
    • The Namek Arc, with its high body count, forced some rather awkward censorship. For example, any time the camera showed the corpses of Namekians or Frieza's soldiers, they would dub in labored breathing or pained groaning to give the impression that they were still alive, just exhausted or badly hurt.
    • In the same vein, when Raditz arrives on Earth, he encounters a frightened farmer who shoots at him. He catches the bullet and uses his thumb to shoot it back at the farmer, hard enough that it goes through him and hits his vehicle behind him. He lies motionless, but his voice is heard saying, "That smarts," like he just stubbed his toe but he'll get over it.
      • They also pretend that Dende's brother Kargo is still alive and has successfully ran away from Dodoria's clutches by editing the footage of Dodoria's mouth blast from managing to blast Kargo to smithereens to somehow missing Moori in a point blank shot and have many characters repeatedly talk as if Kargo is still out there somewhere even though he never appeared due to his unfortunate fate in the original.
    • The comic-relief character Mr. Satan alone has spanned a long history of censorship:
      • The renaming to "Hercule" in the edited dub. Many fans consider it to be in the same class of replacements as "HFIL". On the other hand, to a Japanese audience, the name "Mr. Satan" would mostly just connote that he's trying to present himself as a gigantic badass, without any of the religious connotations. In that light, the original name simply wouldn't make sense to an American audience (nor his adoring fans shouting that they love Satan).
      • The French dub renamed him Hercule for different reasons: Since every instance of 'Ma' (demon) and 'Mao' (demon king) was conventionally translated as 'Satan', it would've left him the fourth character officially called Satan, one of whom (Piccolo) was already a main character, and the cast was already making an effort avoiding the name of Chichi's father (dubbed Satanirus) since Piccolo's introduction.
    • Also parodied in Buttlord GT. Snowflake shouts, "Time to send you to ANOTHER DIMENSION!" then crushes his opponent's skull with one hand. And afterwards: "Ah, he's UNCONSCIOUS".
    • After FUNimation moved the series from syndication to Cartoon Network's Toonami, all this fear of using these words ceased (presumably due to the more lenient standards of Cable Television). On the edited Toonami dub, references to death would remain intact, although the word "kill" was only used in the uncut dub and usually edited to "defeat" or "beat." Meanwhile in the UK, the Canadian actors from FUNimation's censored 1996 dub got hired to do an alternate English dub for Episode 108 onward. This dub aired on the UK's version of Toonami (and later Canada's YTV). In this case, the words "kill", "dead", and "die" are never mentioned, being replaced with "hurt" (which gets ridiculous in many situations, but "destroy" is used in some cases), "gone", and "leave". An exception to this was a figure of speech used by Krillin near the end of the World Tournament Saga. In Episode 236, when Gotenks races off to fight Buu, Piccolo says "If he gets killed now, all our efforts are in vain." From here, the words "kill", "die", "dead", and "death" are used as frequently as in the FUNimation dub, and are never replaced again.
    • The CW4Kids version played this straight for the remake, Dragon Ball Kai, going so far as to edit dead characters' halos into "orbs". The Nicktoons version also seems to play it semi-straight — you can say "die", but you can't say "kill/murder/etc". It seems to be random in which it occurs, even kill has been used a few times. No murder, though, yet.
  • The Toonami edit of Outlaw Star Zig Zagged this, some episodes they left "die" or "killed" alone, but in others they wouldn't even let a character say things like "Best to go on living" because it implies death.
  • Played with in the Touhou manga Strange and Bright Nature Deity; according to canon, fairies instantly resurrect when killed. So it has the three protagonist-fairies looking at a tree which has been split in half by lightning, worried about the fairies that lived there. "They must have been ...!" Cut to a dazed-looking fairy floating along in the breeze. "Yeah, that must be them over there. They'll probably be out of commission for a while."
  • Quite possibly the originator of the "send to another dimension" euphemism was Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs (an Americanization of Sei Juushi Bismarck) in which the villains were re-written as an extradimensional race whose members were teleported back to their own universe whenever shot. Then they came up with the even odder rule that if you shoot them in their own universe, they become human.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • The Sailor Scouts in the DiC Sailor Moon dub are "captured" by their enemies and disappearing from the series until Serena "frees" them. The entire point of that edit was destroyed in the first part's "Sailor Moon Says" segment, which showed Serena clearly talking to the ghosts of her "captured" teammates.
    • After Nephrite (Neflite) is killed, there's a story where Naru (Molly) meets a priest at a cemetery. The dub censored out all use of the word "priest", even referring to him with the curiously non-specific term "person" in the preview for the episode, or in one instance as "a kindly man".
    • Interestingly, Neflite's actual death scene in the dub is a rare aversion ‒ Molly says "please don't die" as she's weeping over him.
    • Not even Beryl was allowed to die. The dub added dialog from Sailor Moon saying that Beryl was "banished back to the Negaverse" right after their final confrontation with her in which she is eradicated from skin to skeleton. Yeah, if she was sent back to the Negaverse, where she has been throughout the whole show, couldn't she just teleport back out? Yet we never see her again, except in flashbacks...
    • In the third episode of Sailor Moon R, however, Artemis does say that Queen Beryl has been "completely destroyed".
    • Sailor Moon R seems more relaxed about death, in general. Diamond quite literally says he would avenge the deaths of the two whom were killed. It also shows him being impaled by the Doom Phantom, despite Tuxedo Mask's similar impalements from Season 1 getting censored. Blood is also visible and Doom Phantom's declaration of ending all life on Earth is left intact. Wicked Lady is even warned that she won't survive the dark crystal passing through her, though they use the word destroyed when describing it. This may be partly because the second half of the Sailor Moon R dub was produced a few years later (and rather hastily), and was commissioned by the Canadian network YTV for a mostly Canadian audience (which is apparently less likely to be bothered by such things).
    • This phrase is also used in Episode 4 when Sailor Moon destroys the Negamonster, Derela. She says "I banish you to the Negaverse!" Interestingly enough, when she throws her tiara, instead of saying "Moon Tiara Magic" as she usually does, she says "Moon Tiara Vaporize!" The Negaverse seems to be used as a euphemism death at least three times, though it is not the same as the next dimension or the Shadow Realm.
    • This is subverted in the second half of the DiC dub as there are several times the characters say die or death, no kill though.
    • Zig Zagged in the German dub, especially in season 2. Apparently it depended on the translator, whether the D-word was used or replaced by "vanish".
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing was released on Cartoon Network in two formats, one broadcast in the afterschool hours and one at midnight in CN's post-Watershed block. The former was censored, among other ways, by changing Duo's nickname from "God of Death" to "Great Destroyer." The latter, naturally, was not.
    • Tons of fun when Relena repeatedly begs Heero to kill her throughout the first few episodes..
    • This gets fantastically bad in the censored version of the movie Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz. There's a flashback where Duo is planning to kill everyone in a research facility and then himself with a handgun. They simply cut out the word "kill" and replace each instance with the word "destroy," leading to the ridiculous exchange: "Are you going to destroy me?" "I'm going to destroy everyone here, and then I'm going to destroy myself!" "Then go ahead and destroy me, Duo..."
      • When Quatre compliments Zechs and Noin on managing to blow through an army of Mooks to get to their objective, he says "You've come so far without destroying one soldier!" This might seem like a straight example, but it's actually a plot pointnote , and immediately after Quatre's line we get shots of enemy soldiers abandoning their disabled mecha. Though, it still fits here because he couldn't say "kill" on the air.
    • In one episode Trowa gives the captive Duo and Wu Fei something "to kill time"; the dub changed this to "pass the time". While it means the exact same thing, it's a particularly ludicrous example since the phrase "killing time" is generally not considered objectionable.
    • In one episode, a pair of OZ pilots launch a sneak attack on an Alliance port base. When the base surrenders, one of the pilots launches missiles at the surrender party yelling "This isn't battle, it's an execution!". In the Cartoon Network dub, it's change to "I'm going to destroy you!". The fact wounded soldiers on foot are still being hit by weapons bigger than they are somehow stayed in.
  • Naruto:
    • At first, fans were afraid that the English dub was going to suffer from this; in the first few episodes, most instances of a character using the words "death", "kill" etc. were replaced with "destroy" (though Naruto does threaten to kill Mizuki in the first episode). Thankfully, right around the beginning of the Wave Country arc (when the real killing starts), this practice was dropped.
    • The German version however really looks like 4kids went crazy with it. It goes as far as editing corpses and blood out of a scene centered on said bodies. They're not even allowed to show swords. Zabuza's big entrance, ending with his sword sticking out of a tree and him standing on it, was edited so that only the handle is un-painted away, and Zabuza is standing perfectly straight on thin air. Sasuke's whole backstory doesn't make any sense, because nobody can know that his clan was killed. Instead, it was said they were "held captive". Also, the condition for unlocking the Mangekyo Sharingan was changed from "kill a friend" to "betray a friend". So Itachi never killed that one guy who went missing, he just made sure he would fall into the river ... and no further elaboration was provided. This makes Sasuke's lamenting about how he won't fulfill the condition after his fight with Naruto in the Valley of the End especially silly, considering that if betrayal is all it takes then he did fulfill that condition.
    • The first Clash of Ninja Revolution game was pretty silly with this. Any death references are replaced with "defeat" or "destroy". It makes Sasuke sound like Itachi is his rival instead of wanting to kill him. And it's strange because the previous games were okay with mentioning death.
    • The Naruto: Shippuden broadcast version briefly shown on Disney XD has shown that this is in full effect for the most part; for example, they changed Itachi's line in the first episode into "You must DEFEAT your best friend. You must DESTROY him."
    • On the same note as the German dub, the less said about the infamous Jetix UK cut, the better. It was basically the already-edited dub that showed on Cartoon Network US, but edited in such a way that manages to outdo some of the stupidest 4Kids edits, almost on the same level as One Piece! Aside from all the cuts to violence and all, Never Say Die was in full effect, which resulted in some lines being mangled and cut (An example being in the first episode: "If you ever lay a hand on my sensei..."*Cut to next scene*). Amazingly though one or two lines slipped through (Like Sasuke's "I promised myself that I'd stay alive...until I killed him..." line in episode 16).
  • In the Lion Version of Voltron, the main characters had a nearly clairvoyant ability to tell whether or not the citizens of a destroyed city or planet had evacuated, just by looking at the burned and blasted out remains of said city or planet. Just about every other Never Say Die rule was in effect for this series (although the censors did let at least one "peasants being eaten whole by monsters" scene slip past them.)
    • Whenever possible, scenes that might have involved the killing of human beings are dubbed so that the destroyed creatures were actually robots.
    • Early in GoLion, the original Blue Lion (Takashi Shirogane, who was renamed Sven in Voltron) is killed. Instead of saying Sven was killed, they say that he went to heal on Planet Ebb, and then went back to the evil planet to help with a rebellion. It was quite confusing with everyone standing over his grave, crying, and talking about how he was really hurt and then had to go away, but he wasn't dead, really.
    • When the character (in the original, Shirogane's kid brother Ryou) reappeared in the story, his absence was explained by a bout of insanity. When this second character fell from a great height while grappling with the main villain, his death was dubbed away, to the point of the main cast (with shocked expressions and streaming tears) saying "He fell into the water..." A brief voice-over informs us that he was alive, but just really badly hurt.
    • This eventually paid off in the Post-Script Season, where Sven came back as a supporting character and even got to pilot Blue Lion again, thus averting this trope via Spared by the Adaptation.
    • The Vehicle Force Voltron also had this. (Example: one of the villains is actually killed in an early episode, but in his death scene, an image of him saying "I'll be back" is spliced in) Look up Voltron on Wikipedia and you'll see how different the American and Japanese versions really are.
    • A specific example from Vehicle Force is when the Voltron team befriend a young bad guy, who's then attacked by the rest of the bad guys, and trapped in a burning fighter. The animation shows that Jeff is being restrained from a futile rescue attempt, but we cut to an unconvincing scene explaining that the bad guy had set off happily to another base...
  • While it didn't always shy away from the topic of death, Battle of the Planets included a Robot Buddy, 7-Zark-7, whose primary function was to reassure viewers that each episode's high body count was Mecha-Mooks, unmanned aircraft, merely stunned, just pining for the fjords, and so forth. In one episode, for example, the team's mission is to rescue two captured astronauts; Zark informs us that they got away safely. But their escape is never shown on-screen, for the simple reason that in the Science Ninja Team Gatchaman original, they were killed and their corpses used as bait in a trap.
  • Pokémon Adventures:
    • The American English-translated version uses this. During the Yellow arc, for example, the Nerd (who moments earlier was trying to kill Yellow) says that the "defeat" of Misty, Erika, Brock, and Blaine will make everything much more fair. The four react as if he had said "deaths" because... he does. The Viz Kid's version seems to flip between using this trope and averting it. The next mention, where Agatha tries to kill the nerd because He Knows Too Much, they note that the nerd will die if it continues.
    • Volume 5 has Lance vaporizing a city, followed by him only wanting to "hurt" Yellow. And then proceeds to nearly drown her, and leaves her as she is sinking into the sea.
    • In Volume 1, the Arbok that is cut in half is referred to as a Zombie Pokemon immediately after; 5 Volumes later you find out that it lived anyways.
  • Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure! plays this straight, to an extent. A character attempts suicide but they still refer to it as "going" (as in "We don't want you to go") rather than "die". It's not as apparent as other examples, as people often do use that euphemism, but it still counts.
  • Zigzagged around by Digimon:
    • Digimon Adventure starts with it being an ironclad rule: the first die-related word uttered is Myotismon saying of the Eighth Child, "and when we do find him, then he must die!" The fandom was in total shock at it. Each successive season gets a little more comfortable with it - by the last arc of Tamers and the first arc of Frontier, hearing death words (in an actual end-of-life context, not "Mom's gonna kill me if I don't get home in time for dinner!") ceases to be remarkable, only for it to return full force in Digimon: Data Squad.
    • Note, however, that the Adventure dub does play it straight later on, when Myotismon starts killing off his own henchmen, with him stating that he's "banishing (them) to his dungeon in the Digital World."
    • Data Squad plays the trope straight — the word "die" is used twice, maybe three times throughout the whole series, and only to say that Digimon-don't-die. Every other death, Digimon or human, is euphemisized. "Reconfigured" is the usual term for the temporary death that results in a digi-egg, but a weapon that corrupts the victim's data so they can never revive can render you "permanently deleted."
    • As for "god," the dubbers have usually replaced it with "sovereign" or something like that. They also seem to be doing away with the word "lord," despite it also having a non-religious definition. In the first series' dub, every bad guy was referred to as "lord" at some point; there's even a scene where DemiDevimon insists the Digi-Destined call Myotismon "lord." And there's the VenomMyotismon arc where the brainwashed humans were chanting, "Myotismon, lord and master!" But in later seasons, the use declined to the point where a character named LordKnightmon had his name changed first to Crusadermon (due to his effeminacy) and then to LoadKnightmon. Now, "master" is more often used.
    • The established dub name for him/her in Frontier was Crusadermon. It's said that Powers That Be in Japan told the American producers what name they wanted to use (whether katakana that amounted to Rhodo Knightmon was meant to mean Lord Knightmon or actually Rhodo Knightmon due to his/her coloration was quite debated in fandom) and landed in Narmville.
  • Done to ridiculous lengths to all anime aired on German TV station RTL2, who were somewhat pioneers in terms of animes but have since pedaled back A LOT.
    • This worsened over the time, beginning with simply cutting out all blood and death scenes and culminated in censored dialogue in Digimon Tamers. Right now, the censorship policy seems to be as follows: Death has to be changed to "being captured", "not feeling well" or "being asleep", with "Fight" being changed to - "Game!". One can imagine how ridiculous the typical Naruto episode sounds like with these changes.
    • The same goes for Digimon Tamers, in which there's no resurrection and dead means dead. If having someone's hand driven through your body, whereupon you give a Final Speech and dissolve into bits of data that is absorbed by the enemy, and your death has a big hand in the rest of the series... there's no way to turn that into "asleep," and if it becomes "capture..." well, it's workable, but the killer does a Heel–Face Turn eventually, and he'd be quite the Jerkass for not letting the "captured" character go. Digimon: Data Squad is a notable exception for this, though.
    • There's also an Arabic Digimon dub that censors "evolution," rumored to be because of the "evolution-vs-intelligent-design-vs-why-not-both" thing - it can be a religiously-charged thing if you must make it one. The Digimon are said to switch out for their "big brothers," and there's even a (never-seen) base where the "big brothers" hang out. You'd think it would be easier to just change the word; "Agumon upgrade to Greymon!" can't offend anyone, can it?
  • An interesting version of this occurs in the Mobile Fighter G Gundam dub (even Uncut). The dub does its very best to not use the word ‘die’, and instead uses a Hurricane of Euphemisms.
  • The American dubbed version of Baldios - The Movie (renamed The Battle for Earth Station S1) goes to great pains to point out that a villain is only 'stunning' a group of guards. And then leaves in the bit where Earth's population is all but wiped out by a massive environmental disaster.
  • Star Blazers is aggressive about removing deaths from the original Yamato series. The series was edited so that people "had time to evacuate", "were covered by avalanches", "were actually robots", "got out just behind you", ad nauseum, instead of being killed.
  • Zatch Bell!:
    • Zatch Bell had one strange example of this trope - in a certain episode telling us the events of Sherry's childhood, we learn that she had Abusive Parents and tried to commit suicide by throwing herself off a bridge on a stormy night. Viz's dub did something weird here - it edited the dialogue to Sherry "walking next to the river and almost falling", but edited very little of the footage. Most people who watched the dub version will still tell you that she tried to commit suicide. Maybe...
    • The series in general averts the trope sometimes, other times play it straight. One filler character who had his parents dead in the original had them "sent to a hospital" in the dub.
  • Interesting case in Studio Ghibli's My Neighbor Totoro. Some time after Mei goes missing, a sandal that looks a lot like hers is found floating on the surface of the lake, and everyone immediately suspects the worst. Satsuki runs to the lake without another word, the old woman next door is seen praying, several dozen people are searching the lake for a body... and yet no one says anything about what they think happened to Mei. No "death," "die," not even "drown." Absolutely nothing is said about it.
  • In the first three chapters of Bakuman。, Moritaka (mistakenly) thinks that his uncle Nobuhiro, a mangaka who made one hit series, committed suicide after falling into debt trying to make another. The chapters that appeared in Shonen Jump have him using euphemisms, such as thinking that his death was "something worse" than overwork, or that he "end(ed) it all". As such, Moritaka's mother's shocked expression when he claims that was how his uncle died loses some of its impact.
  • Inverted in Haiyore! Nyarko-san where Nyarko and Cuuko talk about how they killed the latter's Clingy Jealous Girl cousin Cuune, only for Mahiro to immediately point out that she's not dead, she literally is trapped in another dimensionnote .
  • Played straight in the English dub of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, though in a comedic fashion.
    And now, I will take...a nap!
  • In Guardian Fairy Michel, this is averted, but with a really odd twist. One episode features a gluttonous gourmand who collapses in the middle of a giant meal. The episode doesn't shy away from saying that he's dying, and in fact revolves around his dying request—but rather than give a realistic cause for his collapse, like heart disease or diabetes, he's said to be dying of an "overworked stomach."
  • Early on in the English dub of Yo-Kai Watch, which airs on Disney XD and has stricter broadcasting standards than TV Tokyo, substitutes many of the death words with "demise" or "no longer alive". It still lets a few clear references to death slip though. Youkai are usually dead humans and animals, so it's hard to get around them being dead. Later on in the series, references to death start to slip in more often as well.

    Board Games 

    Card Games 
  • The Tarot de Marseille calls the number XIII (Death) "The nameless arcana".
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game, any card with the word "Death" in its name has it changed to the deliberate transliteration of "Des." So we have Des Koala and Des Frog instead of Death Koala and Death Frog. Additionally, cards with the word "Demon" in their name got it changed to "Archfiend," so "Red Demon Dragon" is "Red Dragon Archfiend" now. Unfortunately, some "Demon" cards had been released with various other renames before those names actually became gameplay-relevant, so an Obvious Rule Patch had to be put in play designating all those cards as "Archfiends" even though their names weren't changed. (Later, a type of rules text called an archetype condition was added to the game, allowing the cards to specifically name themselves as Archfiends, rather than players having to look up the list online to prove the cards were Archfiends.) The word "Hell" in some card names was changed to "Chthonian", or "Stygian".
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Reversed: since the Magic 2012 expansion, creatures are said to "die", not merely "be put into the graveyard from the battlefield". (The "graveyard" is the main general-purpose discard pile zone, the "battlefield" is the zone of cards in play.)
    • Other grim terminology is older (an amount of damage that would kill a creature is "lethal"; effects that attempt to move permanents, including noncreature ones, from the battlefield to the graveyard "destroy" them) or discontinued (effects that tried to destroy a permanent without a chance of saving it with regeneration were said to "bury" it).
    • However, players with no life left just "lose the game", and really gone cards are merely "exiled" (formerly "removed from the game").
    • Two very similar abilities that make creature return from the graveyard are called "Persist" and "Undying".
    • In general, well-defined and intuitive technical terms are more important than avoiding scary words; individual cards are far more creepy in any case.

    Comic Books 
  • In Avengers: The Initiative, this is specifically mentioned. Cloud 9 is shocked when she blows up an enemy plane, saying that "I mean in cartoons when that happens you see the guy bail out with a parachute..." Also happened in regard to the word rape during the West Coast Avengers storyline, where Mockingbird was drugged and raped by the Phantom Rider. It was usually referred to as him having forced her to love him (which was something the drugs also did). Averted in Hawkeye & Mockingbird, though, as she flat out tells the Phantom Rider that he raped her.
  • Mostly averted in Monica's Gang, especially in Bug-a-Boo stories, especially when Lady Mac Death appears. When "die" is not said, it is often for stylistically reasons, or when a more funny way to say it fits better the story. Sometimes even "kill" is said, when someone thinks a character caused the death of somebody after a catastrophic big bump or Monica hits somebody with a plush rabbit throw.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW):
    • The death threat on Twilight's friends and the CMC is heavily implied, but they never use the word "kill".
    • Played straight with Applebloom with a Bowdlerised version of the "I'm Too Young to Die" stock phrase.
      Apple Bloom: Ah can't "go" before I get mah cutie mark.
  • In the W.I.T.C.H. comic book, the rather violent and quite graphic death of Big Bad Nerissa is described as her being "destroyed".
  • In Marvel Adventures Super Heroes, Deadpool was never referred to by his code name. Instead he would be referred to as "Wade" or "Wade Wilson, better known as D—" before being interrupted by another character.
  • Enforced in Spider-Verse when Morlun kills Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. He notes that the world is Lighter and Softer and they have absolutely no way of saying what he just did. They literally cannot say "die".
  • Superboy 1994: The series itself has no problem saying "killed" or "die" but Superboy usually says "hearsed" instead, especially early on. He slowly grows out of this aversion but still tends to use hearsed when the situation isn't serious.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Played with in Big Hero 6. "Dead" and "die" are used once, but the rest of the time everyone uses "gone" to describe Tadashi's death, showing how uncomfortable everyone is about the subject. Hiro tells Baymax to destroy Callaghan after he callously denounced Tadashi's death as Tadashi's fault, a nice Call-Back to his earlier bot fight to ruthlessly destroy his opponent. In the aftermath, the rest of the team repeatedly said that they "never signed on" or "wasn't part of the plan" to kill Callaghan.
  • This is used as a policy for the Latin American Spanish dubs produced by Disney Character Voices International. Disney censors "death" and its related words, "saint", "naked", "God", "holy", "sin", "heaven", "pray", "tragedy", "Christmas", "demon", "devil", "exorcism", "anointed water", "stupid", "idiot", "moron" and "fat". Examples include:
    • In Frozen, Hans' line "Princess Anna is... dead. (...) She was killed by Queen Elsa" is changed to "The princess Anna has... left us. (...) [She] was attacked by the queen Elsa", however just a few lines later he notes that she "died in [my] arms". His dramatic line "Your sister is dead, because of you!" was changed to "She no longer exists, because of you!"
  • In the Kung Fu Panda series, whenever someone mentions Tai Lung after Po uses the "Wuxi Finger Hold" on him, which seemingly causes him to blow up in a golden burst of chi, all we hear is that Po "defeated" him. During the holiday special, however, Tai Lung shows up in a dream and Po states, "I thought you were d—" before he gets clobbered, unable to finish his sentence; then again, the one having this dream didn't even witness Tai Lung's fate. Other than that, they aren't shy talking about death, especially in Kung Fu Panda 2, which outright states whenever characters are Killed Off for Real. Of course, there's not much of an excuse to use this trope when you have genocide as a major plot point.
  • In Chicken Run, although the human characters are planning a mass slaughter of the chickens, they never, ever say they are going to kill them. The chickens, however, use not only "kill" but also "die," "death," and even "suicide." Lampshaded by Rocky after he tries and fails to keep such words out of conversation to avoid panic. Apparently Americans care more about this trope than British do.
  • Parodied and lampshaded in Bartok the Magnificent: The wicked sorceress Ludmilla orders her Obliviously Evil Minion, Vol, to kill Prince Ivan, but phrases it "Get him out of the way", so he does just that, locking him at the top of the tallest tower in the palace. When she finds him, the exchange goes like this:
    Ludmilla: The Prince?! I told you to get him out of the way!
    Vol: He's in the highest room in the tallest tower! How much more out of the way could he be?
    Ludmilla: DEAD!
  • The Rankin-Bass adaptation of The Hobbit gives a puzzling version of this trope in the song "Fifteen Birds" sung by the goblins as they have Bilbo and his party trapped in burning trees. They list method upon method of graphically killing and eating the dwarves, but when it comes time to say "die..." See for yourself.
  • The release of Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (the VHS version) had several small pieces cut out, one of which was part of the scene where Nemo gets the incantation to activate the Royal Scepter's Wave Motion Gun function. Specifically, the part where it's brought up that since Nemo is just a kid, firing the Scepter will kill him.
  • In Return to Never Land, Tinker Bell apparently does this when telling Peter Pan that Jane's lack of belief in fairies is killing her, judging by when Peter informs the Lost Boys that "Tink's light's gonna go out" unless Jane starts believing in fairies again.
  • Inverted in The LEGO Movie with "Come with me if you want to not-die!".
    • Played straight in The Lego Batman Movie but lampshaded relentlessly as a running gag. A pilot thrown out of an airplane opens a heretofore-invisible parachute the moment he leaves the plane, the Joker's doomsday device threatens to blow Gotham into... an infinite bottomless pit that it's apparently built over, and the police snipers, well:
    SWAT Leader: SWAT team, stun guns at the ready!
    SWAT Team: Non-lethal! YEAH! [high-five]
    • Weirdly, however, they manage to sneak the name "Suicide Squad" in. Though, it may have gone unnoticed because it was in a long list of teams Batman was listing off as he was asking who he was working with.
  • Laika apparently has some kind of vendetta against this trope, out of any major Western animation company in the business, they're quite possibly the least shy about dropping in references to death and murder, both for comedy and as a plot point. About the only major time the word "kill" is avoided in a Laika movie is in Coraline, where the substituted euphemism ("ate up our lives") is quite possibly worse than using "killed".
  • The Book of Life. Funnily enough, for a film about the Day of the Dead. Manolo doesn't die and the arena bulls aren't (in most lines) killed; they 'pass away' and are 'finished' respectively. The oddest example: Joaquin's father "passed away" fighting against Chakal.
  • Averted in the 1986 Australian-animated version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Hyde murders several people onscreen and commits various acts of mayhem and violence. (And while the camera may cut away from time to time, the acts themselves are not censored.) What makes it odd is that the film seems clearly aimed at children. About the only part of the film that might fall under this trope is when Mr. Hyde orders two beers at a bar and then smashes them before he can drink them. (Which, Phelous sarcastically notes in his review, makes him a Great Role Model for kids.)
  • Completely averted in The Flight of Dragons which has all the highmarks of a high fantasy movie and features many deaths (including several of the main characters), some of them startlingly violent, but was still intended to be a film for the whole family.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Muppet Treasure Island plays with the trope: Billy Bones' death after getting the Black Spot (a) is totally overblown for comedic effect, and (b) gets a reaction of "He's dead!? But this is supposed to be a kids' movie!" along with, "Guys... we are standing in a room with a dead guy!" There's also a "character" (a skeleton wearing a pirate hat) named Dead Tom, introduced in succession after Old Tom and Really Old Tom. Taken further when a pirate weeps over the recently shot Dead Tom until another pirate patiently explains he was already dead. That's why he's called Dead Tom. The bereaved pirate unceremoniously drops the skeleton and moves on.
  • Spoofed in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, where the villainous Acme Chairman orders one of his henchmen to "Destroy the duck! And when I say destroy the duck, I mean KILL HIM! Messily and painfully!"
  • The narrator of George of the Jungle takes the time to explain to the audience that no one in the film is allowed to die, they just get really big boo-boos.
  • Bodily functions taboo lampshade: In Pleasantville, Jennifer is astonished to find the girls' room at Pleasantville High has no toilets. Apparently it exists only as a ceramic-tiled girls' chat-retreat with running water, as the Fire Department exists only to get cats out of trees. As for death... what's that?!
  • In a variation on this trope, the film The Pope Must Die (about a newly elected Pope being plotted against) was forced by Catholic outrage to change its name to The Pope Must Diet (about a fat... newly elected Pope... being plotted against). The "t" was added to the cover art as if cut from a magazine. No dieting happens in the movie.
  • In Drop Dead Gorgeous, one of the brainless bimbos talks about her previous dog, a German Shepherd who went to 'live on a farm' after attacking her. Naturally, she doesn't get that it's a euphemism.
  • In the Victorian farce The Wrong Box, young idlers Morris and John (Peter Cook and Dudley Moore) need to procure a death certificate to cover up an untimely demise; they get a lot of mileage out of the word 'thing':
    Morris: Now you remember that chambermaid you got into, umm...
    John: ...thing?
    Morris: Thing. Who was the doctor who did the, umm...
    John: Thing? Pratt, Doctor Pratt.
    Morris: Was he a venal doctor?
    John: I didn't think to ask.
    Morris: Well, did he do the—
    John: Thing? Yes.
    Morris: Good.
    John: But what's he got to do with it?
    Morris: He's part of the plan! Now, you and I are the only two people in the world who know that Uncle Joseph is...
    John: Thing?
    Morris: Dead. [and so forth and thing...]
  • In Bugsy Malone, pie takes the place of guns and bullets. Characters who get pied are said to be "finished," and never show up again.
  • In The Warriors, "waste" or "wasted" are always used instead of "kill" or "dead." This was probably done to make the violence seem casual to the characters, rather than soften it for the audience.
  • Censors forced Anatomy of a Murder to replace the word "penetration" with "violation". "Penetration" is the word actually used in Michigan state law's definition of rape.
  • An unusual in-universe example in X-Men: The Last Stand. When Wolverine is questioning Jean about what happened to Cyclops, she refuses to actually say he has died. How much of this is guilt or foreshadowing is up to interpretation.
  • "Goonies never say die!"
  • In Into the Woods, instead of saying Jack's Mother died, the Baker says "she didn't make it." Though they also zig-zag it.
  • Paddington:
    • After the earthquake, Paddington is desperately looking for his Uncle Pastuzo and all he can find is his hat. Cue bearhug between Paddington and Aunt Lucy.
    • Later when Aunt Lucy gets Paddington hidden a lifeboat on a ship to London, she said that she was going to stay at Home for Retired Bears. To first time viewers of this franchise, it seems like a comfortable lie she is telling Paddington when actually she more likely is going off some place to die. Only later, is it shown that she is entirely serious.
    • Averted with Paddington saying his parents died when he was very young, and Millicent saying her father is dead.
  • In The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, the kids are told the Lady will come "soon" for the two little ones. Lucia is stricken and says softly "You're going to take them — you mean they're going to..." (And they did.)
  • In I, Frankenstein, demons are not killed, they're "descended". Gargoyles are not killed, they're "ascended". Justified, since we're actually shown flames coming out of defeated demons which then head down somewhere, while defeated gargoyles turn into a bright light and lift up in a bright column towards the heavens.
  • Lines in Mac and Me were redubbed prior to release, though the Japanese cut uses the original uncensored film. The lines "He's dead?" and "He's dead, Mom, he's dead" became "He's gone?" and "They can't help him. They can't".

    Literature 
  • Animorphs:
    • Subverted most notably in #22. Rachel initially wants to say she's going to 'destroy' Sixth Ranger Traitor David, but that's a 'weasel word' and she admits to herself (and the reader) that she wants to kill him. Badly. While Cassie comes up with the only safe alternative to killing David, Rachel is stuck struggling with her violent tendencies for the rest of the series.
    • Again subverted when a family of campers gets caught up in a battle between Yeerks and free Hork-Bajir, who have, until this point, stubbornly refused to believe that the battle was real no matter what evidence they'd shown. They'd appeared to believe, but we find that they didn't really get it until this scene happens: (Paraphrased)
      Jake: Try not to get killed.
      Camper: When you say killed, you mean killed as in "captured" or "stunned," right?
      Jake: Unfortunately, I mean killed as in dead.
    • In other instances, this trope is played straight - the kids talk about how the Yeerks would "destroy" them and their families, and so on, also using "annihilate" as a euphemism. However, as the Yeerks are parasites, these vague euphemisms could be used to mean "killed or infested".
  • Piers Anthony does this on purpose in his Xanth series. Instead of going to the bathroom or engaging in sexual activity, characters merely see ellipses.
  • In The Legend of Rah and the Muggles, the Big Bad seeks to assassinate the title character. That this is rendered as making him "sleep forever" is especially ridiculous in a story which begins with a global nuclear war, though one might well question the suitability of the latter for a children's story.
  • Discworld:
    • Assassins don't kill people. They are "inhumed".
    • Deconstructed in Hogfather, where the Tooth Fairy's country is defined by the belief of children, looking like a children's drawing for instance, and death does not exist there because no-one tells children about it. People just disappear when fatally injured. And the molecular-thin blade of Death's sword cannot exist there.
      You don't die here. You just get old... listening to the laughter.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • There are a few instances when main characters are dying where death is referred to as "going to hunt with StarClan" or something similar for poetic effect.
    • The word "pregnant" is never used, regardless of how often characters have been pregnant throughout the series. They simply say "bearing kits" or something similar. This can be somewhat justified, because that could actually be how cats talk, similar to the series' use of Gosh Dang It to Heck!.
    • There is also when Lionblaze is trying to threaten Ashfur and he says "I can beat you in a fight if I have to," even though it's somewhat obvious he's threatening to kill him.
    • At one point, they refer to Scourge having "destroyed" Tigerstar, but they probably used that word because saying he "killed" him would have been a huge understatement.
    • Subverted in Into the Wild:
      Firepaw: He wants to get rid of Ravenpaw.
      Graypaw: Get rid of him? You mean kill him?
    • Because of the usual lack of squeamishness, when characters kept referring to Hollyleaf as having been "lost" instead of "killed" when a rockfall collapsed on her and they assumed No-one Could Survive That!, fans figured she was alive since they made such a point of avoiding the word.
  • Played for Drama in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, where Francie is made by her mother to cross out every instance of the word "drunk" (a frequent condition of her father) in her diary and replace it with "sick."
  • The Green-Sky Trilogy doesn't have issues describing something as dead, but as pacifists, they replace the word "kill" with "dead", and stigmatize the usage as a verb.
  • A culture described in Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures raised children with no concept of death so that they would be abnormally fearless.
  • The novel The Impossible Bird plays this trope a bit more literally: only people who have killed someone are physically capable of saying the word "die." (It's never explained exactly why this is so, although all the killing does turn out to be important to the plot.)
  • From Borges' "Narrative Art and Magic": «Saracen historians, whose works are the source of José Antonio Conde's Historia de la dominación de los árabes en España, do not write that a king of caliph died, but that "he was delivered into his final reward or prize" or that "he passed into the mercy of the All-Powerful," or that "he awaited his fate so many years, so many moons, and so many days."»
  • Comes up in A Brother's Price. When she hears that her big brother is going to leave the family to be married, little Bunny Whistler wails "I don't want Jerin to go away like Papa did!". Immediately Jerin assures her, "Papa died, honey. I'm not going to die. I'm just going to live at someone else's house." It's a subversion, but one that initially looks like this trope.
  • In Watership Down, characters mostly use the phrase "to stop running" as a euphemism for death. That said, the concept of death is not swept under the rug at all, and is an omnipresent threat throughout the story, and the word "kill" is frequently used with no hesitation or sugar-coating.
  • In I Am America (And So Can You!), Stephen's parents apparently employed this trope by letting little Stephen know that his dog, Shasta, had moved to a big farm upstate. He takes this at face value, thinking his beloved pet had abandoned him in favor of more space to run around and play with his grandfather, and insisting that even though his new dog was better than Shasta ever was, even if he was getting slower in his old age.
  • Used by special operatives in Vladimir Vasilyev's Wolfish Nature duology. The reason for that is that the dog-humans of this Alternate Universe have mastered genetic engineering and have subjected all people on the planet to the Bio-Correction centuries prior, which removed everyone's "wolf gene" (i.e. the gene that allows a person to kill). Anyone who kills another person, even by accident, is usually driven insane by the act. In fact, any murders that happen are either the result of madmen or special operatives, who spend many years training to do so without going insane. Even then, the psychological toll of killing is such that they're afraid of even using the word "kill", lest the word itself push them over the edge. Instead, the word "fuse" (as in "dynamite fuse") is used, so an operative might be asked how many fuses he's had in his career (very few have anything even close to 10).
  • In Clementine, Friend of the Week, when Clementine loses her pet kitten, Moisturizer, she blames herself, but her father tells her that she's not to blame, that he got out because he was curious; kittens are curious. At that, Clementine is reminded of "a certain terrible saying regarding curiosity and cats," which she says that she is not going to repeat in her narration. However, she sees her father seeing her remember it and tells her that "But satisfaction brought him back" is the end of the saying. She replies simply that she hopes so.
  • The children's picture book Benny and Penny in How to Say Goodbye is about death and averts this in that right in the beginning scene, Benny is jumping on leaves and Penny tells him on to because he'll hurt them, but Benny says that he can't because they're already dead. Penny wonders how long the leaves will be dead and Benny tells her "a long time." In the very next scene, Penny discovers a dead salamander and says that she thinks he's dead. Children's books meant to teach kids how to deal with loss and death almost always avert this trope.
  • Survivor Dogs:
    • This is used a few times, such as when Lucky fears Alpha will "destroy" him, but it's usually averted. Death is described bluntly and only rarely are Deadly Euphemisms used. The series outright begins with an earthquake that kills everyone in the shelter but two dogs.
    • In the third book, Lucky and Mickey try to avoid outright mentioning their mother's death around the orphaned Fierce Dog litter. This only lasts a few pages as Alpha and the others have no such qualms.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Young Hercules: Ares says several times that he will 'destroy' Hercules, but never actually mentions killing him. In fact, throughout the whole run of the series, only two characters were actually shown being killed onscreen. The other two references of death occurred either between episodes or in the pilot movie.
  • Sesame Street: Averted famously in the "Goodbye, Mr. Hooper" episode that opened the 16th season. Will Lee, who played longtime "Grandpa" figure and curmudgeonly storekeeper Harold Hooper, had died in December 1982, while filming for the 1982-1983 season was still ongoing. The remainder of his episodes were aired in early 1983, after which his character is absent and no mention is made of either that or why he is missing... the subject not dealt with until that fall. Several options on how to explain why Mr. Hooper was missing were debated, including him having retire and leave Sesame Street, before the definitive episode on explaining death to a child became the final product. The producers decided to make it part of the show that Mr. Hooper died and, on the advice of child psychologists, they pulled no punches. Big Bird is told that Mr. Hooper died (not "passed away," not "moved on") and will not be coming back. Big Bird is confused and angry, and the adults (with actors not attempting in the least to hide their tears - many holding hands throughout) tell Big Bird that it's okay to be sad and to miss him. See it yourself.
  • In the The Big Comfy Couch episode "Full of Life", Loonette finds a live caterpillar in Granny Garbanzo's yard. She sets it down in her garden, only to find it dead a short time later. She picks it up and assumes it is sleeping. Granny tells her that the caterpillar is "gone", which Loonette takes literally and disputes, "It's not gone. It's right here." Granny elaborates that by "gone", she means that it's "not alive" and sings a sad song about the situation, all while avoiding the D word.
  • The A-Team. As a de facto children's show, in it, the A-Team amass a arsenal of machine guns and other weaponry, faces off against a similarly armed force, exchange thousands of retorts of gunfire —— and no one dies. Man, their aim sucked. Parodied in Family Guy when Peter and company, dressed as the A-Team, try to stop a construction crew from demolishing a park using guns and ramming into things with their vans. They are surprised when the construction crew assume that they are trying to kill them.
  • Webster: In early first-season episodes, the title character (played by pint-sized Emmanuel Lewis) was told that his parents were "away" (they had actually been killed in a car accident) and that he was merely staying with George and Katherine. George decides he can no longer put off telling Webster the truth ... and does in a truly heartbreaking scene.
  • Power Rangers goes overboard with this, sometimes to (unintentionally) comic effect, speaking of people as having been "destroyed." In one particularly comedic example, a proverb becomes, "Those who live by the sword shall come to their end by the sword." Which made it all the more surprising when the Pink Ranger in Time Force screams that she would "not let [her fiance's] death be in vain," (though at other times, she says that he was "destroyed"). Of course, it turns out that he's Not Quite Destroyed.
    • In Wild Force, the impostor Master Org gloats about how he killed Cole's parents using the most contrived death-word-aversions, never using the same one twice and really breaking the flow of a scene that would have been far more intense with one death word (and would have suffered less without it if they'd only stuck with the usual "destroy.") You forgive it because, after all, they have this unbreakable rule that decrees they must absolutely, positively never utter any die-related word come Shadow Realm or high water... and then in the very next scene, the new villain says that "the real Master Org died three thousand years ago and is never coming back!" before announcing himself the new Big Bad and tossing "Master Org" to his Not Quite Death, er, destruction. If they can use death words a few times, why not make one of them during the scene that needed it most?
    • The most noticeable one: "I will destroy you or be destroyed trying!"
    • In an episode of Power Rangers S.P.D., a monster goes so far as to announce "I hate empty buildings!" before smashing one to pieces, assuring the audience that no one was inside to be hurt. There are references to battles taking place in the "Abandoned Warehouse district", which just smacks of poor urban planning.
    • No less than a season later in Power Rangers Mystic Force, we're told by the team's mentor that Plucky Comic Relief Clare's mother "depleted her life force" sealing the gate keeping the villains in the Underworld. Oddly, a later episode includes a Monster of the Week stealing people's life force, which seems to make them unconscious/zombified but quite alive, returning to normal once the monster was defeated and the life force was returned. You really have to wonder if Clare's mother is locked up somewhere in the base until she can get a life force infusion. A later episode averts this, with Daggeron declaring he would "rather die with honor than live without it."
    • This actually becomes quite an impressive accomplishment in Power Rangers RPM, where they manage to kill off 99% of humanity without using the "d" word. Ranger Blue uses "die" twice, though... a record for actual life-threatening circumstances. When Ziggy becomes a target of several mob cartels, he fears being "ghosted", a Future Slang term used the selfsame mob and other criminals. (We did get repeated death words way back in Space, when Zhane was Mistaken for Dying). And two of the Ranger characters had backstories involving the deaths of people close to them, both of which were shown on-camera in flashbacks. (If you count a plane blowing up with its pilot not shown to be "on-camera.") And yet nobody actually says they're dead or were killed.
    • Several series have references to ending someone's "existence" or will avoid saying "alive" with terms like "still with us." Apparently you can't even say "alive" because the opposite of alive is dead!
    • It also extends to some forms of weaponry. Power Rangers villains almost never use "bombs." Rita and Zedd have used "implosion devices" that sure seemed to explode, Divatox used "detonators," and good guys and bad guys alike in RPM use "charges" when something needs to go kaboom.
    • So it was quite surprising when, in the episode with Robogoat, Goldar said Tommy was going to die.
    • Averted in "The Green Candle" two-parter. When Zach goes into Goldar's dimension to retrieve Jason, Jason argues that Tommy will lose his powers, and Zach had to tell Jason that if he doesn't leave to help Tommy, Tommy would lose his life. Fortunately, this is enough to get Jason to leave.
    • The infamous "laser pellets" of Power Rangers S.P.D. that were just plain bullets in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger.
    • You know how trailers sometimes have "clean" alternate takes of dirty dialogue? Well, in the trailer for Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie, Billy says that Zordon is "aging at an accelerated rate". In the actual movie he says, "He's dying."
    • Power Rangers Ninja Steel has a character who is afraid of driving; when he falls off a bike, he says the crash "almost killed [him]" quite freely when discussing what might happen. However, in the same series, and even the same episode, "destroy" remains what Galvanax wants to do to the Rangers. Later in the same season, the this trope appears in an unintentionally comical manner: After defeating a cat-themed villain, the Rangers say that "curiosity destroyed the cat."
  • Soap Operas are notorious for having couples "make love" rather than "have sex"; perhaps the most baffling example was when General Hospital's Laura Webber recalled her rape by Luke Spencer as "the first time we made love". Pregnant women also seem to be fond of referring to themselves not as "pregnant" but as "carrying [baby's father's name]'s child," although this is starting to change.
    • Part of the "carrying [baby's father's name]'s child" might have come from the fact that soap operas can be so damn confusing, they might need to remind the audience who did what to whom and when.
    • Squeamishness about sex does not seem to be the reason for the use of the term "making love" as soaps often show sex scenes.
  • In-Universe example in the NCIS episode "Grace Period", where Ziva continually states that they will kill a terrorist they are hunting. It becomes a Running Gag in the episode.
    Abby: But we only caught one of them. What if somebody else tries to stop it?
    Ziva: We kill them, Abby.
    Tony: We catch them. That's the preferred term.
    Cassidy: I like hers better.
  • Australian soap opera Home and Away was notorious for doing rape storylines without actually being allowed to use the word "raped", resorting to euphemisms like "attacked" or "assaulted" (or, on one occasion, "violated") which left some viewers thinking the girl had just been mugged or sexually assaulted but not actually raped. One of the worst instances was in late 2007 with the return of Michael, the adopted son of an insane cult leader who had brainwashed him with drugs and (apparently) forced him to rape Tasha, with the intention of getting her pregnant. Belle described his crime to Annie with the words "she had a baby with him when she didn't want to." Things have now relaxed somewhat, with the word being used during the storylines with Joey and Charlie in 2009 and Bianca in 2011. However, viewers still have to sit through scenes of it being described as an "attack", one of the worst examples being when Bianca discussed her rape with a counsellor without either of them once using the word.
    • There was also a scene in 2007 where Peter mentions "date rape" when Belle tells him about the drugs she found in Kellie's bag. Ironically, this was not during a rape storyline, and it came before Michael's return.
  • Neighbours has been guilty of the same thing leaving out the word "rape" during such storylines as Izzy lying to Karl that her baby with Gus was the result of rape, Rebecca admitting to Paul that Oliver and Declan's father raped her (conceiving Declan in the process) and Bridget accidentally killing a guy who was trying to rape her. Especially strange when you consider that back in 1993 they had no problem with the scene where Julie reveals to Philip that her conception was the result of rape. Or Scott sarcastically calling himself a rapist during the first week of the show back in 1985).
  • Discussed in Lie to Me when an alleged rape victim said "he sexually assaulted me". Foster deduced that she was lying because actual rape victims don't shy away from saying "rape".
  • Played with in Arrested Development, when a doctor appears to be doing this by saying "we lost him," but it turns out that George Sr. just climbed out the window to avoid going back to prison.
  • Interestingly, The Dick Van Dyke Show never used the word with regard to Laura's pregnancy (which was visited repeatedly in flashbacks), but could use it freely regarding animals, as in the 1962 episode "Never Name a Duck."
  • British children's Game Show Raven The Island used a lot of euphemisms for the contestants "dying". "Perished" was the closest they got.
  • Speaking of British children's Game Show, the hard to win Knightmare uses "death" a lot.
  • Occasionally subverted on MythBusters:
    Jamie: "Genetic material?" It's sperm!
    • This was an expression of frustration on Mr Hyneman's part that was allowed into the edit - the use of "genetic material" in the first place was at the Discovery Channel's specific request. The words "expression of frustration" and "Mr Hyneman" in the same sentence should give a clue as to how annoying this trope can get. Especially since they were allowed to say "sperm" several times in an earlier episode. (One of the myths about cola they tested in Season One was whether it would act as a spermicide).
    • They did go an entire episode of "flatus" themed experiments without once using the word "fart". But this was only because they thought that it was classier to avoid it, not for censorship.
    • There's also the episode of sayings where they had to shine poop. Adam provides the caveat that they can't use certain words by listing them while being bleeped. They didn't even say turd, despite the phrase they were testing being known to virtually everyone as "You can't polish a turd".
    • When the Mythbusters Top 25 episode was done during the Discovery Channel's 25th Anniversary celebration, they played quite a few segments of older episodes where the Mythbusters crew exclaimed "Holy crap!" completely uncensored (in response to either the unexpected scale of destruction a particular test caused or when something failed to work properly), while the original episodes had the second word bleeped out.
  • Despite being overwhelmingly the most-requested subject for Beakman's World to tackle, the show waited until the very last segment of the very last episode to tackle flatulence. (And they got away with saying "anal sphincter").
  • In the Nickelodeon version of Robot Wars, Sir Killalot was re-named Sir K.
  • Seinfeld:
    • The famous episode "The Contest", about the characters competing to see who can hold off from masturbating the longest, probably only made it to air because none of them actually say the M-word. Although it's really pretty well done, as the dialogue never seems forced to avoid the term.
    • Also, the episode where Elaine tells Jerry her date "took it out" while they were in the car. The term it is repeated several times, not once explaining what exactly it means. It is the guy's penis. What really makes the moment is when Kramer enters halfway through the conversation and immediately knows exactly what they're talking about.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures, normally a show with a low body-count, has Sarah Jane encounter Oddbob, source of the Pied Piper myth. Naturally, when he disappears children, they don't "die", but are sent to another dimension. Since his powers have No Ontological Inertia, his defeat frees them. But as it would be a storytelling inconvenience to deal with the reappearance of the hundreds of children he's abducted over 700 years with only three minutes of show left. So this possibility is ruled out with the explanation that the abducted children do not die but "fade away" over time. Frankly, the idea of the abducted children "fading away" seems a bit more nightmarish than to just explain Oddbob as a prolific alien serial killer. Especially since it wasn't afraid of using the word die in Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? when Maria tells Andrea she was meant to die and Andrea repeats the line back to her in disgust.
  • In an episode of iCarly, the kids have to find a bunch of newly-hatched chicks in four hours or "bad things happen".
  • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight uses being "vented" to explain that the defeated riders are sent to the "Advent Void," the nexus point between the mirror world and the real one, and will not be able to ever return. This seems to be one more case of replacing death with a Fate Worse than Death.
    • One episode is actually entitled "Vent Or Be Vented".
      • The series actually runs with this idea, later revealing that the Advent Void wasn't meant to be a Fate Worse than Death, since the Riders' leader had the ability to retrieve them from the Void and thus it was more of a temporary break than a permanent banishment. Of course, at the start of the series he's not around, so it is a prison for a while.
  • From Buffy:
    Buffy: If there were just a few good descriptions of what took out the other Slayers, maybe it would help me to understand my mistake, to keep it from happening again.
    Giles: Yes, well, the problem is, after a final battle, it's difficult to get any... well, the Slayer's not... she's rather...
    Buffy: It's okay to use the D word, Giles.
    Giles: Dead. And hence not very forthcoming.
  • The forgotten The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo never lets anyone die, which, for a grown-up, is jarring in a detective series. The closest the show ever got to show a character dying (or even saying the d-word, for that matter) was when a victim was attacked... and fell into a coma.
    Angie: He was my mentor.. and now he... he is—
    Detective Delancy: No! No, he isn't... yet.
  • Charmed is very fond of the word "vanquished". Only for demons though. The words "death," "die", and "kill" are still used for humans, except for sarcastic expressions like "Somebody vanquish me!"
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    • The famous "dead parrot sketch" provides an excellent parody of this, with the shop owner trying to explain the dead parrot is "pining for the fjords" or anything else but dead, as the customer insists; leading said customer to launch into a Hurricane of (Deadly) Euphemisms:
      Shop Owner: 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile! This ... is an ex-parrot!
    • Also subverted in the railway timetables sketch. After seeing the corpse:
      Has he been... ?
      Yes, after breakfast. That doesn't matter now, he's dead!
  • Scrubs: "We never say die! Except when a patient actually dies. Then, we're kind of forced to by law."
    • There's a flashback at one point to when Elliot tried being the doctor-who-never-says-terminal. She had a very hard time explaining to a patient that his mother was in fact... terminal...
      Man: Is it terminal?
      Elliot: I wouldn't say that.
      Man: So she still has a chance?
      Elliot: No.
    • J.D. has rattled off a quick list of variations on the word "die" that can be used while trying to teach intern Keith how to break news to a terminal patient including such gems as "deadsies" and "Deadwood" (did you know Cowboys used to curse?)
  • In one episode of Happy Days, ABC's Standards and Practices department forbade a priest character from using the word "God" in a comedic context: instead he pointed ceilingward and spoke reverently of "Him".
  • The '90s children's show Shining Time Station, in one of the later episodes where Billy's nephew Kit comes to visit. Billy asks Stacy if she'd heard about Kit's father, and she responds, mournfully, "Yes, I'm sorry."
  • Played with in-universe on the Bones episode "The Body In The Bounty", when the host of a kids' science program wants Brennen to guest-star on his show. People dying on Bones is nothing new, but one of the characters expresses doubt as to whether Brennen can avoid talking about autopsies or grisly modes of death long enough to appear on a kiddie Show Within a Show.
  • On That '70s Show, they rarely said exactly what it was they were smoking, calling it "the stash" instead. In some cases it wasn't too awkward, such as when they were around adults.
    • The smoking itself was only implied. The only time characters are actually seen smoking anything in the circle is an episode where they're smoking cigars, causing one character to comment, "This is way worse than what we normally do in the circle. THIS should be illegal."
  • In-universe, this was attempted but ultimately subverted to hell and back in an episode of Roseanne when Jackie tries to break some bad news to a relative that is hard of hearing.
  • In one episode of Get Smart, KAOS is eliminating Control couriers during plane flights, by dropping them out of a trap door when they go to the bathroom. We later see Max avoid the trap. However, the 'bathroom' clearly doesn't have a toilet - apparently the airline just included a private room for passengers to go and wash their hands.
  • Some of the more racier game shows on US TV in the 1970s substituted the word "whoopie" for sex. Notable examples include The Newlywed Game and Match Game.
  • Though the series in general has no problem saying "kill" or "die", in Game of Thrones, when a Crow's life ends, it is referred to as, 'His watch has ended,' rather than stating that he died.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look lampshades the trope in one of its "evil genius" skits.
    Alan: Oh, what are you talking about, Keith? This is going to be "Let's hope professor Ritson meets with a little accident" all over again. We spent nine months hoping that professor Ritson would meet with an accident before Leslie made it clear it was an accident we were supposed to make happen!
  • The West Wing has an in-universe example that's a cross between this and Unusual Euphemism. No one is allowed to say the word "recession". In one episode, they take to using the word "bagel" instead. In another, Leo insists that the meeting scheduled to discuss it be called "The Robust Economy Meeting".

    Music 
  • The Hanzel und Gretyl track SS Deathstar Supergalaktik has this in its lyrics, probably as a reference to the lightheartedness of Star Wars.
  • The Gothic Archies song "Freakshow" has the lines "real people ask you why/with a face like you've got, won't you just lie down and..." with the obvious missing word being "die".
  • The original "Baby Shark" campfire song ends with the shark eating a swimmer, who goes to heaven in some variations. Most recent renditions, including the most popular one by Pinkfong, has the sharks pursuing a school of fish who swim away and find safety.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Christian theology, "death" refers to being spiritually dead — that is, condemned to Hell. Thus, other terms may be used for death of the body.
    • In his biblical epistles, Saint Paul would never refer to dead Christians as having died. He would say that they have "gone to sleep". Since Paul did not want to imply damnation by any means, he used a euphemism.
    • Jesus also uses the term "fallen asleep" (in John 11:10) to refer to the soon-to-be-raised Lazarus. He actually has to explain what he means to his disciples, as they don't get it.
    • In at least one translation of Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (Ecclesiastical History of the English People) people don't die, they "pass from life into life". The reason is the same as Paul's.
  • Older Than Dirt: The Ancient Egyptians believed that to record something in writing made it more real. Scribes usually did not speak of death, only of euphemisms such as passing west (towards the setting sun and The Underworld) or joining the sun god's barque in the sky. Set was never said to have killed or murdered his brother Osiris; instead he knocked him down.
  • The Qur'an explicitly forbids to call martyrs dead because "they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision".

    Podcasts 
  • In the Cool Kids Table game All I Want for Christmas. Since the game is themed as a family-friendly Christmas film, Alan says the characters can't say "kill" or "die".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • At WWE Extreme Rules 2011, when John Cena announced to the crowd that Osama bin Laden had been killed, he stated that he had been "captured and compromised to a permanent end." This from a man who used to say "bitch" frequently. When he was the hero.

    Radio 
  • Rush Limbaugh often refers to the recently deceased as having "assumed room temperature".

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Mage Knight miniatures game, a critter is explicitly dead when its dial is turned and three skulls appear in its stat slot. In Hero Clix, by the same company, there are no skulls — instead, three big red 'KO's appear, and the rules specifically refer to such as state as being 'defeated'.
  • Kissing up to 1980s action cartoons, Cartoon Action Hour follows this trope with a capital N—unless of course, you playing The Movie.
  • Lycee TCG has an interesting take on this trope. Characters that left the field due to losing battle or hit by certain effects is said to be 'discarded', as though they are merely cards in your hands or decks. There is no clear border between 'a character' and 'a character card', unlike Magic or similar competitive card games. Which helps the players in not imagining what logically happens: it doesn't matter if your Ibuki Fuuko is knocked out by Shiina Mayuri, Serpent of Akasha, or Demonbane, she's only "discarded" into your "dustbox'"

    Theme Parks 

    Toys 
  • The word slipped through a couple of times, but the early years of BIONICLE mostly used "destroy" and "defeat". This changed later years, however. Its replacement, Hero Factory, being much Lighter and Softer, seems to play the trope straight again, though even it seems to be veering away from this slowly. The German release of the third BIONICLE Direct-To-DVD movie cut the bit when Roodaka expresses her need for the corpses of the Toa, even though it's the whole point of the rest of the scene, and the first movie's German said die.
  • Deathstroke was planned to appear in Kenner's unmade fourth wave of The Super Powers Collection figures, with his name changed to Terminator. This is not quite as drastic as many of the other examples of this page, since he was originally called Deathstroke the Terminator in the comics anyway, before a certain movie series necessitated phasing out that portion of the name.
  • ToyBiz's line of X-Men action figures changed the Orphan-Maker's name to "The Protector," likely because of this trope. Likewise, Holocaust's name was changed to Dark Nemesis, which also carried over to the later Hero Clix and Marvel Legends lines.
  • Speaking of which, the first X-Men movie has a scene where Sabretooth sneaks up on a security guard and kills him from behind. ToyBiz did an action figure of Sabretooth that included the unfortunate victim, who was referred to as "knocked-out security guard" on the packaging.
  • Along those same lines, the packaging for Hasbro's Mark I toy from the first Iron Man movie claimed that Tony Stark used the armor to chase off the terrorists who'd kidnapped him. In the actual film, Tony straight up kills many of his captors, and then blows up their base for good measure.
  • The action figures for Hellboy II: The Golden Army shortened the film's title to HB II on the packaging, while Hellboy himself was referred to only as "Red."
  • The same thing happened with Hasbro's action figure line for the Ghost Rider movie, which changed the name of the protagonist's motorcycle from the "Hell Cycle" to the "Flame Cycle."

    Video Games 
  • In Halo, Spartans in-universe are persistently rumored to be immortal as a form of psychological warfare against the Covenant, and to boost morale in the UNSC. Thus, even when they really do die, they are never listed as "KIA", only "MIA". After the war ends, the new generation of Spartans are officially allowed to be listed as KIA. Of course, the fact that supposedly dead Spartans have a tendency to show up again (e.g., Chief's entire fireteam in 5) sort of justifies it.note 
  • In SoulBlazer for SNES, the characters repeatedly say people "passed away".
  • In Dynasty Warriors, there are "KO counts" instead of kill counts.
    • In both Dynasty Warriors and sister series Samurai Warriors (and, by extension, the mash up series Warriors Orochi), this can be appropriate as many defeated characters are explicitly NOT killed and instead forced into retreat.
    • The US version of Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage changed the KO count to "Kills", since claiming someone who just burst into bloody giblets or was sliced into confetti is only KOd is REALLY stretching the definition. The achievement icons involving a large number of kills were left unchanged and still read "KO" though.
  • An egregious if little known example is Dragon Ball Z: Legendary Super Warriors on the Game Boy Color. It appears that at some point the translators did a find/replace on the words 'die', 'died', 'death', 'kill' and 'killed' and switched them all for 'lost', regardless of sentence structure. So while things like "I can't believe Piccollo lost!" make sense, more or less, you also get dialogue like "Lost, Vegeta! Lost!", "The entire planet will lost!", and "I guess you DO want to lost!"
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The English translation of Final Fantasy VI was forced to avoid explicit mention of death. One dungeon is the tomb of Setzer's girlfriend, Daryl. In a flashback she states that Setzer can have her airship, the Falcon, if "anything happens to her". You even get to see Rachel's preserved corpse, and hear the story of her death, but again, no d-word - she's said to have been 'saved' using magic herbs and put into a sort of magic coma. The suicide attempt scene especially has any mention or notion of suicide removed and it was replaced with the notation of people jumping off a cliff if they were feeling down so that they could "perk up" again. The Instant Kill Death spells are renamed things like X-fer and X-Zone. Kefka spends Dalek-like amounts of time ordering his men to 'exterminate!'. Sabin and Cyan's brief accidental jaunt fighting ghosts on the Afterlife Express is framed in terms of a train that takes you to 'the other place'. One really painful moment is the scene where Sabin refers to the murder of his master as 'doing [him] in'. An exception occurs after Kefka gives Celes a sword on the Floating Continent, as he tells her: "Kill the others and we'll forgive your treachery! Take this sword! Kill them all!" The revised script in the GBA port uses concepts of killing and death much more liberally.
    • Final Fantasy XI's flavor of blue magic involves "absorbing the essences" of foes who use the proper moves.
    • Final Fantasy IV is a pretty egregious example, being bound by the same prohibition of d- and k-words.
    • Most games would also avoid using words related to death early in the series when it came to your party's status after their HP hits zero, using words like Swoon, Disabled, Stun, etc. Final Fantasy VII referred to knocked out characters as Dead. However, using Dead led to confusion when one of your party members was killed off due to the plot and people wondered why a Phoenix Down wasn't used to bring them back to life. The series then use KO (knocked out) to describe defeated party members, dipping back into the trope.
    • Final Fantasy IX has an in-universe example: most of the Black Mages who gained sentience actually don't know what death is, and as Vivi starts to work out what it means when they "stop moving", he starts to use the term himself—only to be told not to do so by the one Black Mage who actually does know what death is. Later, when Kuja explains (offscreen) what is really happening when the Mages "stop moving", they don't take it particularly well.
  • The words "death", "dead" etc. were formally banned from all Nintendo games for many years as part of their policy for family-friendly content, back in the early days. Abandoned in later years, of course, though The Legend of Zelda series in particular still insists on describing enemies as being "defeated" after you slice the hell out of them. One of the bosses in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening even lampshades this. He sends a variety of minions at you, and after you're finished with them, he yells "You K-K-K-Beat my Brothers!!!" Ironically, two of Nintendo's own titles got away with it in the SNES era. F-Zero got to keep its Death Wind courses, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past retained Death Mountain even in the American version (likely thanks to the Grandfather Clause, since the name first appeared in the original The Legend of Zelda manual before the policy was strictly enforced). Some third-party games for the NES and SNES, like Friday the 13th, do use the D and K words. It's simply averted in the Zelda Phillips CD-i games licensed by Nintendo, though like the rest of the game it's simply subject to Memetic Mutation:
    Ganon: Join me Link, and I will make your face the greatest in Koridai, or else you will DIE!
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles don't die, they "get caught". Justified at least in the NES version since they DO get caught if defeated and can be found tied up in a chair and rescued in later levels.
  • The SNES port of Flashback renamed the Death Tower the Cyber Tower.
  • City of Heroes:
    • The game uses the ambiguous "arrest" or "defeat" to let the players decide whether their heroes use lethal force or not. This is subject to much Lampshade Hanging in fan works and sometimes the game itself. Yes, you can "arrest" people with a katana or giant lightning bolts, apparently.
    • The manager of the Monkey Fight Club insists "The monkeys ain't kilt! That's de-feat-ed!"
    • The developers seem to have become more lenient over the years, though - there are obvious instances of characters outright dying, and plenty more where it's left easy to assume. Although there is one character that some players seem to wish had died in the first appearance, considering the result when they returned.
    • City of Villains uses this more classically a lot of the time, even when contacts are telling you to use lethal force. You are, after all, a Villain Protagonist.
    • More specifically, all the game's system messages ever say is "defeated." What "defeated" means is subject to context if the particular story involving the "defeat" chooses to elaborate. Some elaborations involve capture and interrogation, some involve death and killing, and some involve the defeated character "teleporting away." There is no default stance given to what a generic "defeat" should mean, however.
    • Parodied with a generic activist who describes War Witch (a ghost) as "breathing-challenged".
  • Megaman Battle Network: Killerman.EXE, a shinigami-styled assassin Navi, cries, "Jigoku ni ochi na!" ("Fall into hell!") as he buries his scythe in his victims. The English adaptation switched this to whispering "Sweet dreams" in the victim's ear. Hell, the guy himself is an example; the translation changed his name to "EraseMan" (with his chips still in the "k" code). Yeah, we're buying that.
  • Onmyōji's in-game filter in the chatroom and shikigami comment sections does not allow posts containing the kanji for "death" 死, making it difficult to talk about a skill of Hangan's where he writes said character in explosive ink, for one.
  • Pokémon:
    • In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, rated E for Extreme Technicality, this seems to be part of an overall pattern of very thinly veiling all manner of terrible, terrible things. This could actually make the game more disturbing, since it sometimes ends up reading like the characters are too innocent to come to terms with what's happening to them enough to talk about it straight-forwardly. And in Explorers, two of the characters seriously contemplate committing suicide without ever stating it out loud. Gates to Infinity substitutes the word for "disappear", "destroyed", and possibly "defeated" on multiple occasions (The context it's used in makes it unclear as to whether or not death was actually involved). It also uses the sentence cut short variation on one occasion where no other word could possibly have filled in for it.
    • The Pokémon Stadium games mention how a Pokemon is "about to die" if you send it out while their HP is low.
    • Several Pokédex entries do, however, use the word "die" in the context of "cessation of life" (Spoink for FireRed, Alakazam for Silver, Haunter for Silver/SoulSilver, Lampent for White). In general, the English Pokémon games tend to reduce the number of mentions of "killing" and "death", but don't eliminate them entirely.
    • Likewise, in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, you see two sailors tossed off the S.S. Libra during Cipher's attack in the intro, and yet there's no word on the fate of the ship for three days. On top of that, the only guy onboard who isn't a criminal doesn't look like he's part of the ship's crew. The game does such a good job glossing over the fact that Cipher committed mass homicide on the ship's human crew that younger and/or more naive players may not understand just what kind of people they're dealing with.
    • Pokemon Xand Y:
      "The man's beloved Pokemon took part in the war. Several years passed. He was given a tiny box." note 
      • The game even keeps with Mr. Tajiri's ideals, as outlined above: while the game is far more involved with the concept of mortality, the heroes very much call out the main villain on his cavalier attitude toward killing, and much of the theme of the game, even the sidequests, is that life is worth living.
      • Yveltal in Japan is a "Death Pokemon" and has a move called "Death Wing". In English, they are respectively changed to "Destruction Pokemon" and "Oblivion Wing"... which funnily enough sound significantly more threatening.
    • Less of the "Never Say Die" sort, but still worth mentioning: The German Pokémon games refer to the Dark-type Pokémon and attacks as "Unlicht", which means not light in English. And even though the ban of "bad words" in video games has been lightened, the type is still named "Unlicht".
    • The Generation V and VI games use the word "death" infrequently, even using it in a euphemism for the verb "kill" ("bring to death").
    • Subverted in Pokémon Sun and Moon; "death" and similar terms are used freely, as are religious terms such as "god" and "demon" for the first time in the series (presumably because of their use in similar family-friendly games such as The Legend of Zelda), and Type:Null is even referred to as the "Beast Killer". The games feature numerous Pokédex entries discuss Pokémon hunting each other. Referring to Pokémon or humans being killed for reasons other than hunting, however, is worded delicately. For example, Bewear's Moon entry says "Many Trainers have left this world after their spines were squashed by its hug" and Sneasel's Moon entry says "Breeders consider it a scourge and will drive it away or eradicate it".
  • Mega Man Star Force never uses the verb, neither to humans nor to aliens. They also never use destroy, but some really poetic terms ("not among us anymore" or "he/she is in Heaven") or the sentence is never completed ("If you keep doing this, she will..."). In a part of the game, "die" is replaced by "hurt", creating this very stupid dialogue:
    Geo: "W-W-W-Wait a sec!! If you do that, you'll hurt the other guys, too!"
    Mega: "Then what do you suggest? Leave them be and let them cause an (car) accident and get hurt that way?"
    • In the third game the translators really had no choice, as such a high number of characters die, though mostly not permanently, yet they still danced with euphemisms quite a bit. When Ace dies, "kill" and "die" are used freely, repeatedly in the mourning dialogue. When Luna dies though, it's Never Say "Die" to the rescue.
  • X-Men Legends II turns all villains defeated (except for the giant bugs, which splatter) into a Non-Lethal K.O., which isn't always plausible (tossing someone into lava, for example.) Discussion of death isn't toned down, though. This is the Marvel Universe. It is a physical impossibility for a person to stay dead there, so it's not as lunatic as it might first seem.
  • The Kingdom Hearts series uses this trope oddly:
    • When in Disney worlds, the words "kill" and "death" can be used freely... by everybody EXCEPT the main characters. In the game's "real" storyline though, the words are completely forbidden, often being replaced by "destroyed", "finished", "defeated", and "sent to Oblivion".
    • The main exception to this rule was in the handheld Chain of Memories. After battling Riku Replica in the "Reverse//Rebirth" mode (playing as Riku), he talks about his own death as he fades, even asking where his heart will go, or whether it will just disappear. Thanks to that the remake got a 10+ rating (surprisingly, the original GBA game didn't have trouble with that - possibly because that rating didn't exist then). Also, Vexen never actually said die - but Axel probably wasn't doing the game's rating any favors when he cut off "I don't want to [die]" by setting him ablaze. The remake also averts it, with Axel saying "don't you go off and die on me now" before fighting Sora the first time.
    • The whole "Never Say Die" thing is even written into the story. Even if the world is consumed by darkness, the people living there don't die. Some of them become summon crystals, while the rest fall dormant until their world is restored. Even the people taken by the Heartless don't really die - when Sora "kills" a Heartless, its heart is cleansed and set free, and can return to its previous owner.
    • It gets even worse once it's not clear what the characters are even saying any more. Consider this: In KH2, a major subplot is Sora trying to find Riku. He knows he's alive about 3/4s of the way through the game, but then the evidence dries up. Near the end, he fights with a vision of Roxas, who tells him he "defeated" Riku. Once the fight's over, this sends Sora almost into a paranoid attack. But wait: that was just a vision, and Roxas hasn't existed for most of the game. That means he can't possibly be using "defeated" to mean "killed" since Riku is still alive after that and even the player knows it. That means, in the Kingdom Hearts world, "defeated" isn't censorship, but worse: the word actually does mean both "killed" AND "defeated", and no can ever figure out which you mean without an explanation.
    • Before one of his boss battles, Axel claims he'll "make it all stop". Larxene occasionally tells Sora to "Vanish!" during her boss battles. When Xemnas merges with Kingdom Hearts, he ask for the power to "erase" Sora and his friends.
    • After saying that Axel's betrayal ruined her and Marluxia's plans, Larxene tells Sora, "Now, I'm left with no choice but to eliminate you!" when she's pretty clearly intending to kill him.
    • One of Saix's lines during battle averts this trope, however, as he says "I want to see you die fighting," though the line was supposedly removed in the initial release but restored in the Final Mix releases.
    • Vexen averts it after his first fight with Sora: "As I expected, you weren't one to die very easily!"
    • The English version of Birth by Sleep actually uses the word on a semi-frequent basis, even when the usage of "die" and threats of murder could have easily replaced with something less hostile without it even sounding the least bit odd. Then again, it is a prequel that takes place before the Heartless were unleashed. The concept of death was likely much simpler before you could return to your normal self by having someone wielding a magic key kill your monster self. There are some instances where euphemisms are used, such as Aqua commenting on how Master Eraqus had been "struck down" and Ven asking his friends to "put an end" to him, though given the circumstances, it could be that the characters themselves (rather than the censors) want to avoid using the actual words.
  • The first English localization of ActRaiser did this to the extreme. In a very obviously god simulation with world-changing whims and angels who report to you, the localization tried hard to completely erase all notions of this in the text. God became "Master", temples became "shrines", prophets/seers became "fortune tellers", and other thoroughly unconvincing euphemisms. The game itself, though, was one of the best god sims of its time, and remained this good in English, the transparent Executive Meddling notwithstanding.
  • In the NES version of Dragon Quest IV. Psaro/Saro's nickname Death Pizzaro/Psaro the Manslayer is rendered as Necrosaro.
  • Nobody dies in Kingdom of Loathing, they just get 'Beaten Up', a condition that lasts 3-4 gameplay turns. You can assume NPC's also suffer the same fate, since the end of combat is usually described as simply, "You win the fight!" But if the combat ends on a Disco Bandit's face stabbing combos, a "FATALITY!" is announced.
  • Oddly inverted in the Kirby Super Star sub-game "The Revenge of Meta Knight"—Meta Knight clearly says "Prepare to Die!" before dueling Kirby, yet in the Video Game Remake, he says "Prepare to meet your doom!" Ironic how it says "die" when Nintendo didn't allow it, and then doesn't when they do allow it...
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • While most games will go out of their way to never refer to death or killing in any way, the very first game's instruction manual had no problem with telling the player that being hit by an enemy makes Mario die and how beating some enemies will kill them. It even advises the reader that there are several ways to kill Bowser!
    • Played for laughs in Super Paper Mario:
      • Death is replaced by "game over" and kill by "end the game" (or, in one instance, "send to the next world"). And getting resurrected by Jaydes is called a "continue". The game, as well as the whole Paper Mario series, does not always play this straight, since Wracktail says "death" when Mario meets him. Peach also averts this near the end of the game in a very serious moment. Also, the first Paper Mario has Mario being accused of being a murderer.
      • The kings of the Floro Sapiens, a race of plants, never die. They just "wilt".
    • In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, seemingly every use of "die" or any of its derivative forms is replaced with "KO". Vaguely lampshaded at one point, where Starlow asks an enemy character if they've got a "KO wish". "Dying" is also substituted as "passing out".
    • Played for laughs in Mario Super Sluggers, where a Magikoopa who Bowser charged with guarding a lighthouse confuses sayings each time you challenge it. (For example "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man angry and hungry for pies."). If you fail his challenge and talk to him he'll attempt to use the expressions "Never say die" and "live and let die" only replacing the word 'die' with 'bye.' When a Lakitu attempts to correct him, he interrupts the correction and the challenge begins.
    • Super Mario Galaxy:
    • New Super Mario Bros. Wii's instruction manual quite glaringly refers to "blunder" and "make a mistake" rather than death. It still says you "lose a life" though.
    • Mario Party series with its "Dice Block".
  • In the Mother series:
    • Defeating enemies will render them to "become tame", "stop moving", "return to normal", "disappear", or "be defeated". Justification occurs though that some things such as moving records, lamps, and street signs would "stop moving" and return to normal, non-animated/living objects.
    • Furthermore, the official translation of EarthBound removes all references to death from the in-game dialogues (see here or here for examples.)
    • Though this is averted in Mother 3 where The main character's mother, Hinawa dies in the first chapter, and is given a funeral.
    • EarthBound Beginnings both plays this trope straight and averts it. It's played straight with the Bowdlerisation to one of Loid's purchasable weapons, the Plasma Beam. Its name in the original? Death Beam. Likewise, the UltraBarbot and ManiacTruck are the Death Barbot and Death Truck in the Japanese version. It's averted when talking to the doctor in Merrysville, who tells the player to "die on their own" and that he'll call a mortician if his services are refused.
  • In Star Wars: Battlefront II, the text bar that records important actions says "killed" or "died" for when an ordinary soldier is killed and "defeated" or "fled" for heroes. Furthermore, all of them kneel, rather than simply dropping over dead, so this may just be a case of Saved by Canon. Averted in the all-heroes/villains battle (Mos Eisley Assault), which treats them like normal mooks.
  • Metal Gear: Ghost Babel for GBC. This is a game about terrorists trying to start a nuclear war. It contains a scene where a minor character is killed out of the blue by exploding handcuffs. It contains another where the Big Bad graphically discusses a rape-murder and avoids those specific words. Also, a character on Snake's support team who turned out to be a traitor is described as "having a bullet put through his head" during the ending cutscene. And Snake's cigarettes were replaced with a cigarette-shaped smoke-emitting device known as the "Fogger".
  • The French version of Tales of Symphonia is a funny example of this when you understand English, because while the text is in French, the voice acting is still in English. So you hear "killed" and read "destroyed/eliminated/disposed of/badly hurt". They toned down some of the stuff Zelos says, too...
  • In Tales of the Abyss At a certain point in the game, Luke is talking to Asch, telling him that he'll stop Van. Asch bluntly corrects him by saying: "Not 'stop'. Kill!"
  • In the video game series Tales of... when the party is killed by monsters, the usual death screen message is "they were never heard from again..." paired with depressing or unsettling music.
  • In Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Online, you are asked to "defeat" a certain type of enemy, even if "defeating" means whacking them with a cutlass, shooting them, throwing grenades at them, or what have you.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • And now it's gotten worse: Sonic Colors manual refers to "losing a try." The earliest Sonic games referred to Lives as Chances, though, so this may be a case of returning to its roots.
    • The Sonic Advance manual referred to lives as "tries" as well. For example: "Gain an extra try".
    • Averted in most games. Death gets referenced nonchalantly and several games discuss the ARC massacre that also involved Maria (who couldn't be older than thirteen) being killed. Sonic Heroes, one of the most kid-friendly titles, has at least three references to death in its dialogue.
    • In Sonic Forces characters go out of their way to cut off before saying the 'd' word and use various euphemisms. The exception is the villain Infinite. He says the word "die" at least once.
  • All references to House of the Dead in Sega Superstars Tennis and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing are labelled "Curien Mansion" or acronymed as "HOTD". This is for three reasons: A) Sumo Digital aimed for the games to be as family-friendly as possiblenote , B) the House of the Dead series is banned in Germany, the application of this trope here serving as a form of sneaking past German censors, and C) They do not want to mention the name of an M-rated series in an E10+ game (however, they seem perfectly fine with mentioning T-rated franchises).
  • The SNES port of Art of Fighting replaced the "Super Death Blow" (actually a literal translation of "Chou Hissatsu Waza", the Japanese term for Super Moves) with a "Super Fire Blow".
  • The heavily bowdlerized SNES port of Mortal Kombat, aside for removing all the blood and gore from the arcade game, renamed the game's "Fatalities" into "Finishing Moves", with at least three of the characters' original Fatalities being replaced by so-called "new moves". However, variations of some of them did end up in newer games, like Sub-Zero's freeze-and-shatter.
  • Some of the early Romance of the Three Kingdoms games on SNES(/PSX?). Whenever you captured an opposing officer in battle, you were offered the chance to "Hire/Recruit" them, release them, or "Capture" them. Judging by the fact that, once you "capture" them, they never show up in that particular playthrough again, it's fairly easy to decipher what happened.
    • The later games (PS2-era on) definitely avert this trope, replacing the word "Capture" with "Execute" - complete with death quotes (usually pleas for mercy) and the telltale sound of a sword being unsheathed. Although it's usually a good idea to hire them first if they're skilled - then to check to see if they've got a large family. Executing someone with the family name Sun will make your life very difficult later.
  • Countless instruction cards for early video games referred to vanquished player characters as "becoming tired" or similar; a big offender when you actually saw Pac-Man dissolve to nothing and *pop* as the ghost ate him.
  • The manual for the Action Man game on Game Boy Color makes a big deal about the fact that all the enemies are robots and that your weapons are anti-robot only.
  • In Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! in one level you have to kill a Yeti, and while the character talking clearly says "Even though I am a vegetarian, I think you should kill that Yeti," in the subtitles, the game replaces "kill" with "torch".
  • The 1992 Sega Genesis fighting game Deadly Moves (originally called Power Athlete in Japan), was retitled Power Moves when it was ported to the Super NES. It became Hilarious in Hindsight when Nintendo later published a certain game called Killer Instinct.
  • Oddly inverted in Snoopy Flying Ace. As it is a Peanuts game, pilots whose planes are destroyed, no matter how violently, make it out alive and can be seen parachuting down safely. However, the game itself still refers to bringing other planes down and getting shot down yourself/crashing as "Kills" and "Deaths".
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban's GBA version, defeating an enemy results in the following quote: "(enemy) went away!", and the results screen says "The fleeing enemy dropped". Odd for a series that deals heavily with death.
    • The early PC games describe in-game dying as "fainting". So when Harry falls down a Bottomless Pit, that caused him to "faint". At the same time, it's no problem when the storyline is discussed in cutscenes. Well, it would be rather hard to pretend Moaning Myrtle became a ghost as a result of "fainting", wouldn't it? However, the second game did censor the word "Muggle" (apparently someone decided that racial slurs still count even if they're Fantastic), changing it to "non-magical" or "non-magical folk". When the characters have to refer to Muggle-borns, it becomes especially awkward: "Those who are not wizard born will be purged from Hogwarts."
  • Played straight in The World Ends with You, with the constant repetitions of "failure" in the Game leading to "erasure." Up until The Reveal, anyway. Erasure isn't a stand-in for death - you're already dead, and "erasure" refers to the destruction of one's soul.
  • In DC Universe Online, when you die you are "knocked out". The game also usually refers to killing mobs for quests as "destroying" or "knocking out".
  • The first Freddi Fish game very strangely averts this trope, though all of Humongous Entertainment's other games try to avoid using this trope. In the Junior Arcades, the manuals would never call it "death" if you lost a try.
  • Strangely played straight in Demon's Souls and Dark Souls. The message that pops up after you successfully kill the world's host during an invasion is always "Target is Destroyed" instead of say, "Target Killed". Then again, all players are Undead in Dark Souls, with much of the lore revolving around how they are incapable of truly dying, so it does make sense in that regard.
  • R. Scott Campbell of Interplay tells this story of how a SNES game based on The Lord of the Rings was originally rejected. Nintendo would not let them include the line "Nine for mortal men doomed to die". They seriously considered changing it to "Nine mortal men doomed to cry".
  • Downplayed in the Monster Hunter games. Most of the missions involve "hunting" large monsters, which effectively means they at least have to be killed (the ideal option is to capture them alive). But the word "slay" does appear when the mission involves an ancient dragon, and it's also used to warn that a mission will fail if the objective is to capture the monster alive. So the specific terminology goes like this: "Capture" is trapping a monster alive, "Slay" means you're required to kill it,note  and "Hunt" leaves it to your discretion.
  • Fur Fighters: "You fluffed it."
  • While A Witch's Tale generally averts this, defeated monsters are crushed into bits rather than killed.
  • LEGO Adaptation Game:
    • Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham had to call the Suicide Squad something else since the word "suicide" was deemed inappropriate for a children's game. They're just called "The Squad" instead.
    • In Lego Marvel Super Heroes, you encounter M.O.D.O.K., but he says that he's designed only for conquest rather than for killing. He can't spell it, apparently.
    • Zig-Zagged in LEGO Dimensions. GLaDOS never says "kill" or "die"note , but her dialogue is peppered with enough threats and implications for her to remain in character. The Gamer Kid, on the other hand, blatantly mentions Perma Death if he respawns.
  • Used and subverted in-universe in Luminous Arc. From the start, the Garden Children talk about thier duty to "condemn" Witches. Combined with the bright aesthetic of the game, this looks like a textbook case... right up until it's said to a Witch's face. When she directly asks if Alph intends to kill her, he hesitates. It's the first sign that the Garden Children's training might have been intentionally undermined. After this point, it's averted, with off- and on-screen deaths being called just that.
  • Averted in Harvest Moon, which has no issue with saying that your animals or even occasionally humans have died. In fact one of priest Carter's sermons in Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town has a father trying to invoke this trope but failing. When his wife dies, a man tells his son that she is sleeping. This results in his son wishing to buy her an alarm clock. Carter questions if it was right for the father to lie about the topic of death.
  • in X-COM Enemy Unknown Doctor Vahlen mentions after your first alien interogation that the alien "disappeared", despite the fact that the interogation obviously involves torture and you get an alien corpse after an interogation. This is especially weird since XCom features multiple graphical deaths of both humen and aliens.
  • Averted in Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass. Despite using a very childish aesthetic reminiscent of Earthbound, there is frequent mention of death, alcohol, and drugs. Information Guy is even bloodily killed in the Wilted Lands!
  • NARC is a strange case. Throughout the famously violent game you bloodily massacre hundreds of people, either gunning them down or blowing them up into bloody body parts... but dogs don't die. Nope. If shot or blown up, they merely turn into puppies (?!) and run off the screen.
  • Master of the Monster Lair: Zig-Zagged.
    • Played Straight: Enemies and players defeated in battle are KO'd, words like "destroy" are thrown around, and even the Devil Prince's letter threatening the mayor, actually written by Owen, stops short of saying the word die, instead threatening to "take [him] to Hell."
    • Averted: There are times when the game does use unambiguous words like "kill" and "slay." Also, while it leaves the fate of some of the mooks ambiguous (on floor 2 you are told you're "capturing" hobgoblins, for example) it's abundantly clear that none of the boss enemies survive - some of them are even stuffed and put on display!
  • Splatoon 2 generally uses vague synonyms instead of referring to death or killing ("splatting" being the most common example.) The sole exception occurs in the postgame when Callie appears after beating the singleplayer campaign and introduces herself as the one who tried to kill you during the final boss fight.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate changed Richter Belmont's iconic line from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night from "Die, monster! You do not belong in this world!" to something that removes the references to death.
    Richter: Begone! You do not belong in this world, monster!
  • In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Klubba says, "Try that again an' it's Davey Jones Locker f' ye! A-harrh!" if you choose to fight him at any Klubba's Kiosk.
  • Zigzagged in the Mega Man X and Zero series. Killing Reploids is referred to as "retirement", but the games aren't afraid of dropping the word "die" on occasion regardless. However, Mega Man X4, in which Double straight-up tells X to die in his pre-battle quote (and even has an uncensored FMV of Double bisecting reploids with visible blood,) also includes some more neutered lines from the same character like "Prepare to be recycled!" and "You're gonna get hurt, X!" The same game also has X telling Zero that if he ever goes Maverick, he wants Zero to "take care of him", which conjures up images of Zero literally taking care of a sick X more than the Mercy Kill it would actually be.
  • Transistor does this for more artistic reasons than censorship-related ones. Death is always referred to as either being processed (when a character is assimilated by the Process,) or "going to the Country," with the Country being heavily implied to be a euphemism for the afterlife.
  • Gran Turismo 4's remix of Papa Roach's "(Getting Away with) Murder" censored out the word "murder".
  • Played with a bit in Tomodachi Life. When playing Tomodachi Quest, if a Mii runs out of HP, it'll say that the Mii "pretended to die." When it's their turn, they're skipped over and it says that they're "pretending to be dead."

    Web Animation 
  • A Bonus Stage episode in which Joel learns, from the book Do-It-Yourself Standards & Practices, how to retool the show for a child audience, we hear this exchange (words in brackets being obviously dubbed):
    Phil: Wh—... what just happened?
    Joel: It's been a week, dude. You came back from the [hurt] after I [destroyed] you and sent you to [Hades]. That stuff was, uh, cut... for, uh... time.
  • In RWBY Chibi, Nora refuses Ruby to say this word when Team RWBY finds out Pyrrha Nikos, who was killed off at the end of the third volume of the main series, is alive and well.

    Web Comics 
  • Erfworld: One of the oddities of language is the use of "croaked" instead of "dead" or "killed" (and "uncroaked" instead of "undead"). However, this is clearly done by the characters and not the author, because Parson does refer to it as death and takes note of how completely inappropriate death seems in this otherwise cute and cuddly setting. Erfworlders instinctively understand the meaning of such words (as they do most other Earth words), but they are revolted by them and never use them themselves.

    Web Original 
  • The Roleplay Rules of the LEGO Messageboards only permit a member to "defeat" another member, not kill or maim them.

    Real Life 
  • According to APA Style, you NEVER use any euphemisms for death, whether while reporting general news or writing an obituary/death notice.
  • This quote is popular among some computer programmers:
    "C programmers never die. They are just cast into void."
    • This is based on the quote, "Old soldiers don't die, they just fade away."
    • This actually comes from the C language itself. When you cast off a variable, it disappears.
  • There's also a variant for BASIC programmers, coupled with a subtle Take That! against the language itself:
    "BASIC programmers never die. They GOSUB and don't RETURN." note 
  • Some gamers invert this by referring to everything that takes something out of the game as death. Even in pen-and-paper roleplaying games, it's not uncommon to hear "unconscious" referred to as "dead". This also applies to conversations regarding video games and collectible card games where defeated characters are not killed and could be revived later, such as in Pokémon (where they are consistently called "fainted" or "knocked out" and can indeed return to consciousness with ease). Even if the player is controlling a drone or other unliving object In-Universe, they're still likely to say "I died" when the thing they're controlling is wrecked.
  • Poison safety information directed to children will state the side-effects of poison as being sick, as death is pretty harsh for a child. This is mostly effective, as children generally do not like being sick.
  • Paul Erdos, a very famous and highly eccentric mathematician, had a very unique vocabulary, where people who stopped doing math had "died", and people who actually died had "left".
  • All cadets except seniors in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets are not allowed to say the words "die" or "death." If they do and are caught doing so, they are typically forced to do push-up. However, most people are too lazy to punish anyone but a freshman.
  • Real Life EMT/Paramedic training averts this. You're not supposed to use euphemisms like "passed away" or "no longer with us" when delivering the bad news to family members, as it raises stress by equivocating and hedging around the reality of a loved one's death.note 
  • Similarly, the children's picture book A Terrible Thing Happened notes in its Parents and Caregivers section that it's really best to avoid the use of euphemisms in real life when speaking with a child who has witnessed death or any type of traumatic event. Though it might seem comforting to adults, it's only likely to confuse the child that may already be having trouble processing their feelings about what they witnessed. Helping Children Cope With Grief, by Rosemary Wells, also specifically advises against the use of euphemisms.
  • Subverted in the case of crime scene investigators, whose notes and reports are not supposed to out-and-out say "dead" in reference to a victim's body—not out of any squeamishness or sensitivities, but due to legal technicalities. Only a trained medical authority—usually the medical examiner—can legally declare death, and saying "dead body" or "corpse" or the like will result in a defense attorney challenging these statements in court as signs that you're overstepping your authority or unduly prejudiced towards the case in question (i.e. "Did you believe this case was a homicide before you could objectively determine what happened?"), putting a dent in the reliability of your testimony. Referring to someone as being deceased is therefore avoided in these contexts, unless someone with the authority to do so has already declared death, or the body is decapitated, heavily mutilated, or in an advanced enough state of decomposition that there's clearly no reason to believe the person can still be alive. Even then crime scene investigators may tend not to say "dead", to avoid forming bad habits that may lead to future slip-ups.
  • Inverted in Unix/BSD/Linux operating systems: processes may be merely sleeping, defunct (aka zombies) and may be killed. For the curious, a process becomes a zombie because its parent process hasn't destroyed it properly. That's the reason why lectures about * nixes should be behind closed doors. As someone overhearing killing childs, zombies etc. might interpret it differently than the people inside (an exclusive group of people not dressing like the rest of world speaking in their language and mentioning zombies and killing children).
  • When a Roman consul announced an execution, he said Vixerunt ("They have lived") or some grammatical variation on that to avoid directly mentioning death. In Latin, the perfect tense indicates that an action is now complete, so to say "Marcus Tullius Iucundus has lived" would be the equivalent of saying "Marcus Tullius Iucundus has finished his life."
  • Roman Emperors were often declared gods after the end of their lives, which according to some stories led to the dying Vespasian saying "I think I am becoming a god".
  • Not only are they not allowed to look at corpses, but traditional Navajos will not say dead or died. If someone died of natural causes, they "took up their living elsewhere." If they died otherwise, they "stopped moving." And it doesn't actually matter whether they're talking Navajo, English, or Spanish; this can apparently cause confusion if, say, Navajo motorists call 911 after witnessing accidents.
  • The German language tends to avoid any active usage of "töten" (to kill), especially in present and future tense. Instead, the less ... determined word "umbringen" (lit. to bring down) is used (both of them are equivalents of English "to kill"). Therefore, if someone does actually use "töten" instead of "umbringen", he's damned serious - and you should better run.
    • Then of course, there is a somewhat milder, less formal slang term for "umbringen", "um die Ecke bringen" ("bring someone around the corner").
  • An Urban Legend regarding Disney Theme Parks is that, to protect their family-friendly image, they will not allow people to declare anyone who dies on Disney property as dead, making them take the bodies off property before they do so. This myth stems from standard medical procedures: since a person isn't usually considered dead until they're officially pronounced dead by someone who can legally do so, that means that a person won't encounter a doctor, medical examiner, etc., until they're off park grounds and in a hospital, so they won't be legally dead until then. It isn't true, though; a small number of people have in fact been declared dead on Disney property.
  • A similar urban legend exists for Las Vegas casinos. They're declared dead wherever they died (and the larger Strip casinos have 10-15 deaths on property per year). It's just generally not discussed with guests and rarely receives major coverage in the news so it doesn't impact tourism.
  • Yet another similar urban legend claims that nobody is allowed to be declared dead in the British Houses of Parliament, supposedly because under an ancient law anyone who was would be entitled to a state funeral. In fact, at least four people are known to have died there with no such issue: Guy Fawkes (executed), Sir Walter Raleigh (executed), Spencer Perceval (only UK Prime Minister to be assassinated in office), and Sir Alfred Billson (natural causes).
  • In the most polite scenarios the Japanese word to use is "takaisuru", literally 'other-worlding'.
  • On the Moth Radio Hour, an airline stewardess told an anecdote about her airline's policy on people dying during flight. Stewardesses are expected to treat them as if they're simply not feeling well because the flight will continue to its destination anyway. When the plane lands, paramedics continue the charade of removing the corpse as if it's in need of medical assistance.
  • In attempt to sound more compassionate, some Czech policemen or emergency officers tend to use the phrase “the person suffered (many large-scope) wounds which didn't add up with living.”Czech  You couldn't use a bigger pile of stiff words to say “he died” even if you wanted to.
  • Appears to have served as a coping mechanism for most soldiers especially during 20th and 21st century wars. Diaries and poems by these soldiers will refer to their comrades as having been "zapped" or "popped" but never "killed". This ties into other coping mechanisms such as during WWI when the hands and arms of soldiers buried in trenches would continually slip out of their shallow graves during rain storms. Soldiers would often shake the dead hands or give them high fives when passing by them. All these methods served to help the soldiers mentally ignore the fact that their best friends all just died.
  • "Take No Prisoners" is a euphemism for "Leave No Survivors".


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