One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Be present when a hunted animal is caught and killed.
- ‘My horse was, fortunately, a quiet old beast, that had rushed with me into many a herd, and been in at the death of many a buffalo.’
- ‘My brother was in at the death of the great southern herds in 1877, and had a good deal of experience in buffalo hunting.’
- ‘After the latter I had many a long and tiring run in my boyish days; and on one occasion followed the pack for five hours, without a moment's rest, and was in at the death of a fourth hare.’
- ‘He thought he might yet be in at the death; and with this idea he ran up to his horse, drew the picket-pin, and leaping upon his bare back, directed him after the chase.’
- ‘All the hunters who were in at the death expressed their surprise at these appearances.’
- 1.1 Be present when something fails or comes to an end.
- ‘A fury of rule or ruin has always in the history of human affairs been a characteristic of the ‘strong men’ whose fate it is to be in at the death of an expiring principle.’
- ‘‘New Zealand troops were in at the death, and have fought with tremendous tenacity throughout,’ cabled Mr. Churchill to the New Zealand Government.’
- ‘After the first two matches of the 2004-05 Premier League season, Arsenal and Chelsea have both announced their intentions to be in at the death for the Premiership title.’
- ‘During a portion of this year Bowen retired from active work, but returned in time to be in at the death, which occurred in February, 1879.’
- ‘Well, we'll be returning to the experiment to be in at the death, so to speak!’
- ‘Another occasion on which he was in at the death chasing victory came on a tour to Taiwan in the 1980s.’
- ‘Even at this stage, it is already almost certain to qualify in first place, but the fight is on for the minor placings, with any of the other 7 teams capable of being in at the death.’
- ‘Before the big show I went on stage and told the audience they were in at the death of a film.’
- ‘And then he himself, in the King George V, was in at the death, battleships, battle-cruisers, the fleet air arm, cruisers, and destroyers, all having taken part in the chase.’
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