Green’s Dictionary of Slang

push up (the) daisies v.

also kick the daisies, pick..., shove up..., push up the poppies
[prob. based on undated gravestone inscription: ‘With the tips of his toes / And the end of his nose / Turned up to the roots of the daisies’ variously attrib to an Irish or Scottish graveyard]

1. to die; thus pushing (up the) daisies, dead.

[[UK]Era (London) 9 Oct. 6/2: Be kind to those dear little folks / When our toes are turned up to the daisies].
[Can]R. Service ‘The Booby-Trap’ in Ballads of a Bohemian (1978) 372: Ah, Joe! we’ll be pushin’ up dysies . . . together, old Chummie . . . good-night!
L.N. Smith Lingo of No Man’s Land 40: GONE WEST An expression for death; likewise, the slang ‘kicked-in.’ These terms together with the phrase, ‘Pushing up the daisies’ are the soldiers’ common terms for the fate that overtakes comrades and may momentarily overtake themselves.
[US]E.M. Roberts Flying Fighter 285: I had the consolation of knowing that so far I was not ‘pushing up the daisies’.
[US]C. Sandburg ‘On to the Morgue’ in Amer. Songbag 199: Where will we all be One hundred years from now? Pushing up the daisies.
[UK](con. 1919) R.E. Burns I Am a Fugitive 43: I thought of a few of my buddies, dead, forgotten, pushing up poppies.
[US]J.T. Farrell Gas-House McGinty 268: The company is gonna be here after I’m pickin’ daisies.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 454: The doc he says to me, ‘Les, cut it out, or you’ll be picking daisies!’.
[UK]P. Cheyney Don’t Get Me Wrong (1956) 55: Pepper is dead as a cutlet an’ pushin’ up cactus seeds under four feet of desert earth in a wooden box.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 292: He might as well be pushing up daisies.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 140: We thought you musta been pushing up daisies, it’s been so long.
[UK]G. Kersh Fowlers End (2001) 142: Many a good man now living on the fat o’ the land off of total disability would at this very moment be pushing up poppies.
[UK]C. Wood ‘Prisoner and Escort’ in Cockade (1965) I iii: My old man was pushing up the daisies.
[US]J. Heller Good As Gold (1979) 42: Now he ain’t pushing around people. He’s pushing up daisies. A suicide.
[UK]P. Wright Cockney Dialect and Sl. 92: Kick the daisies [...] ‘to die’.
[Ire]J.B. Keane Bodhrán Makers 174: Cackle away you oul’ crone but you may be sure that this bodhrán will be sounding long after we’re shoving up daisies.
[Ire]P. O’Farrell Tell me, Sean O’Farrell 35: I will be pushing up daisies so divil a much good will it do me!
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 121: Another fraction of an inch closer and he would’ve been pushing up daisies.
[UK]Guardian G2 12 Apr. 22: More crims were pushing up daisies.
[UK]V. McDermid Out of Bounds (2017) 385: The man he thought was his real dad was pushing up the daisies two years before he was even born.

2. in fig. use, to waste time, to lead a pointless existence.

[US]T. Wolfe Look Homeward, Angel (1930) 345: ‘I’m tired of pushing daisies here,’ said Ben. ‘I want to push them somewhere else.’.