Bought The Farm

Meanings of “Bought the Farm”

The phrase “bought the farm” means to die in an accident caused by an airplane crash, or during a military battle.

Origin of “Bought the Farm”

The phrase “bought the farm” seems to have originated from a newspaper, The New  York Times Magazine, published in March 1954. It has published the phrase thus; “Bought a plot, had a fatal crash.”

Later, this plot has changed into ‘farm,’ and since then it has been in use in almost the same meanings with different connotations.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Catch a Bad One by Del the Funky Homosapien

Who caught the harm? You bought the farm.
If you’re a friend there’s no need for alarm.

The phrase is seen in the first line, where it means an accident. Its last word ‘farm’ rhyme with ‘harm’ of the first clause, where its meanings become clear, which is that he has met an accident but as he is the friend of the singer, he does not need to feel alarmed at this. It is all right for him.

Example #2

The Way It Goes by Gillian Welch

Becky Johnson bought the farm
Put a needle in her arm
That’s the way that it goes
That’s the way

And her brother laid her down
In the cold Kentucky ground
That’s the way that it goes
That’s the way

These two stanzas show Becky Johnson’s way of life after having bought the farm by putting a needle in her arm. The lines perhaps mean that she has killed herself using drugs or overdosed herself by accident. Becky’s brother had to bury her. The refrain of “That’s the way” talks about the result of using and abusing drugs and also a warning.

Example #3

Bought the Farm by Wendy Meadows

This story is set during WWII. Wendy Meadows shares about the year 1943 when most of the men have gone to war. John Holland, among various other soldiers, has left his wife, Marry, at home to take care of his family. She takes care of the newspaper in Tennessee and passes her time in telling stories when the FBI approaches her about the death of farmer Griffith at which she feels threatened. She then leaves the town to run for her life. This makes her paranoid about the risks and dangers of her life. The title of the novel shows the use of this phrase in its literal meanings.

Example #4

The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics edited by Jerrold Levinson

“The only one I know is that of ‘He bought the farm,’ and I am not entirely sure of this. American soldiers in the Frist World War carried life insurance. If a soldier were killed, the insurance would pay out, and so a farm he had bought with mortgage could be paid for with the insurance money. Thus, in dying he bought the farm.”

These lines show the exact origin of this phrase and how it has been used in these meanings. It shows that the phrase was first associated with the soldiers. These soldiers died were Americans and died in the line of duty outside the country. The mortgage on their farmhouse was paid from their insurance money. This is how it has got its meanings.

Examples in Sentences

Example #1: “They were leading a decent life until the son died. When their son bought the farm during the battle, everything came crashing down.

Example #2: “I have not bought the farm yet. I am quite alive and kicking on my ranch. Although the days are tough, all is well here.”

Example #3: “I am not going to buy the farm anytime sooner. I’ll fight and I’ll win. Those were the words of a soldier to his family before deployment.

Example #4: “I have never tried to buy the farm, as I have never enlisted myself in the marine corps. That is why I am standing before you on this podium to speak to you about the horrors of war.”

Example #5: “During the turbulence most passengers though they are going to buy the farm before landing.”