do or die

do or die


  • a situation in which you must take a big risk in order to avoid failure
  • requiring supreme effort to avoid the dire consequences of failure
  • to try to achieve a goal or fail making the effort
  • involving a determined and sometimes reckless effort to succeed
  • reflecting or characterized by an irrevocable decision to succeed at all costs
  • a situation that is extremely important, and failure would result in a big problem

Example Sentences

  1. A do-or-die attempt to halt the invaders.
  2. Exams are near it's do or die people.
  3. On Wednesday, it's do or die in the Cricket match against Australia.
  4. When Quentin had to give a presentation to some new clients, his boss warned him that it would be a do or die situation.
  5. Well, I guess it is do-or-die so decide if you really want to join our team.
  6. He was in a do-or-die situation to the bitter end.
  7. A do-or-die situation
  8. I am working hard to defeat my competitor and to win I have to do or die.
  9. When I was lost in desert, it was a do or die situation for me to survive.


Scotland, present since 1875-80.

The term "do or die" comes from Robert Burns' poem "Robert Bruce's March to Bannockburn" which was a poem about the first War of Scottish Independence. The last stanza of the poem reads:

"Lay the profound Usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow!
Let us Do-or-Die!"

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D 3 Thoughts

3 Thoughts

Dave Johnson thinks that Robert Burns may have “got the phrase” from Tennyson’s poem of 1854, but I don’t think so because Robert Burns died in 1796.

- Derek Smith, Scotland May 12, 2019

Perhaps “do or die” originates from a Robert Burns poem in 1875-80 as your website indicates, but I wonder. In Tennyson’s 1854 poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” there is a line “Theirs but to do and die”. My guess is that Burns got the phrase from Tennyson and changed it slightly. and that perhaps it was already in common use verbally when Tennyson used it.

- Dave Johnson January 21, 2019

Do or die is a sentence? I like to know, what is it Types?

- Shahid Hasan Khan April 10, 2016

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Idiom of the Day

throw the baby out with the bathwater

Meaning: to remove something good in the bid of getting rid of something bad

Example: Janet quitting her job because her ex started working there is a classic example of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Read on


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