Green’s Dictionary of Slang

die v.

1. to fail utterly, to have a difficult time.

[UK]G. Smeeton Doings in London 98: Pantomime was first performed, in the year 1702, at Drury Lane, in an entertainment called Tavern Bilkers: it died the fifth night.
[US]Van Loan ‘Out of His Class’ in Taking the Count 184: What do they care for the emotional stuff? Last night poor old Lorenze died standing up.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 8: Small-town Comedy will not get across unless the Audience is sufficiently Sprung to be in a Receptive Mood. Billy died.
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 193: The act died standing up.
[UK]K. Williams Diaries 15 Dec. 137: It was a ghastly TV excerpt & we died a death.
M. Braun Love Me Do 28: ‘Cliff [Richard] went there [i.e. America] and he died’.
[US]P. Munro Sl. U. 68: I was dying on that test — I had to guess on over half the questions.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 120: R.C. is dying out there, his nostrils flaring, his breath coming in angry rasps.

2. to collapse with laughter.

[US]S. Longstreet Flesh Peddlers (1964) 146: You’da died, amigo, when we got those chairs on fire. Sid, fat as he is, went up screaming [...] ten feet in the air.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

die-devil rasp (n.)

(UK Und.) a desperate villain, undeterred by any form of opposition.

[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict. n.p.: Die-devil rasp a desperate villain, who will cut or fight through every thing.

In phrases

die dog (or shite the licence) (v.) (also die dog or eat the meat-axe/hatchet, ...for them that pats me)

(Aus./Irish) to commit oneself unreservedly.

[US]R.M. Bird Nick of the Woods II 85: I came here to show [...] that I’m the man, Ralph Stackpole, to die dog for them that pats me.
[US]L.H. Medina Nick of the Woods II iii: I’m the man to die dog for them that pats me.
[US]A. Adams Log of a Cowboy 36: I never questioned that man’s advice; it was ‘die dog or eat the hatchet’.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 36: It was a case of die, dog, or eat the meat-axe.
D. Maccash at Mudcat Cafe [Internet] Oh well, I’m running the risk of offending fellow Ultonians by this post. Still, as me oul’ da would have said, die dog or shite the licence!
die dungill (v.) [dunghill n.1 ]

to die in a cowardly manner, repenting or showing any act of contrition on the gallows, where a plucky villain was supposed to display bravado.

[UK]W. Toldervy Hist. of the Two Orphans IV 52: Therefore, Sir, added he, either put on a resolution to serve your fortune, by producing the money, or entirely give it up, decline, submit, be a wretch, and die dunghill.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Oct. V 6/1: I am spirit to the backbone – never die dunghill.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
die in one’s boots (v.) (also die with one’s boots on)

1. to be hanged.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 306/2: late C.17–early 19.

2. (US) to die by violence, esp. in a gunfight.

[UK]Denver Republican 9 Apr. n.p.: When in liquor he was quarrelsome and the prediction was commonly made that he would die with his boots on [F&H].
die in one’s shoes (v.)

see under shoe n.

die in the arse (v.)

see under arse n.

die like Jenkin’s hen (v.)

to die unmarried.

[UK]A. Ross Helenore in Wattie Scot. Works (1938) 99: I hear by far she dy’d like Jenkin’s hen.
[UK]A. Scott Poems ‘The Old Maid’ 87: I ance had sweethearts nine or ten, And dearly dawted we’ the men... But Oh! the death of Jenkins’ hen, I shudder at it.
die on a fish day (v.) [? hangings taking place on Catholic ‘fish-days’, i.e. Wednesdays and Fridays]

to be hanged.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Die like a Dog, to be hang’d . . . Die on a Fish-day, or in his shoes, the same.
die on it (v.)

(Aus.) to break one’s promise, to fail to finish something one has undertaken to do.

[Aus]Arrow (Sydney) 20 Apr. 7/1: There was no excuse for Belle Blue, and as to E.L.O., he made a run on the rails which looked like danger, and then died on It.
[Aus]Eve. Jrnl (Adelaide) 24 Aug. 4/6: Johnson told witness that Black had promised to assist him in the robbery, but had ‘died’ on it.
[Aus]Age (Melbourne) 8 May 6/8: Mr. L. Whelan opened the proceedings, remarking that the man convened it had apparently ‘died on it’.
Dly Standard (Brisbane) 10 Mar. 8/1: Idanora made a smart run coming to the home turn, but died on it in the straight .
[Aus]Chron. (Adelaide) 15 June 23/6: West Wind made a run half-way up the straight, but died on it, her saddle having slipped forward.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang.
die on the vine (v.)

(US teen) to lack a social life, to stay in at home.

Baltimore Sun 22 June Magazine 6/4: Die on the vine . . . stay at home.
die with cotton in one’s ears (v.) [proper name Rev. Cotton, the early 19C Newgate ‘ordinary’ or chaplain, ‘an able and indefatigable man’ who would preach a last sermon to the condemned man]

to be hanged.

[[UK] ‘Pickpocket’s Chaunt’ (trans. of ‘En roulant de vergne en vergne’ in Vidocq 1829) IV 262: And we shall caper a-heel-and-toeing, / A Newgate hornpipe some fine day / With the mots their ogles throwing, / And old Cotton humming his pray].
[UK]Bell’s Wkly Messenger 11 Dec. 398/1: He got lagged and scragged — that’s time of day with the best ’uns — a rope for their cravat, and cotton in their ears.
[UK]Athenaeum 29 Oct. No. 1931 Rev. of Sl. Dict. n.p.: When a late chaplain of Newgate [Rev. Mr. Cotton] used to attend poor wretches to the scaffold, standing by their side to the last moment, they were said to ‘die with cotton in their ears!’ .
[UK](ref. to 1839) Temple Bar 16 548: Mr. Cotton [...] thought of a good opportunity for retiring. ‘I have now,’ he said, ‘accompanied just three hundred and sixty-five poor fellows to the gallows. That's one for every day in the year. I may retire after seeing such a round number die with cotton in their ears’.
[UK]H. Mayhew London Characters 348: The rogues were pleased to style such a mode of making their exit from the world as ‘dying with Cotton in one’s ears’.
[UK]Burnley Exp. 8 Aug. 4/8: Victims of the hangman’s rope were said to ‘die with cotton in their ears’.