Michael IELTS Band 9
Professional Teacher
Everyday UK Expressions (16): I wouldn't be seen dead.....

I wouldn’t be seen dead….<o:p></o:p>

I wouldn’t be seen dead + wearing something / with a person or thing / at a place etc<o:p></o:p>

This is a funny expression you can use when really don’t like something.<o:p></o:p>

“I wouldn’t be seen dead wearing a Manchester United shirt.”<o:p></o:p>

Here is one from the internet: "Most investment bankers wouldn't be seen dead at a dog track, for example."<o:p></o:p>

The idea is that you are worried about your image.  You believe that your image would be affected badly if, for example, people saw you at a dog track, or wearing some particularly unfashionable clothes.  In fact, you are so concerned about your image that even if you were dead, you still would not like to be associated with these things.<o:p></o:p>

The expression works well with situations where you don’t do anything active, because dead people are not very active!  For example, wearing bad clothes, being with someone unpopular, or being at a place you don’t like. <o:p></o:p>

Here are some more example sentences: <a href="http://fraze.it/n_search.jsp?q=wouldn%27t+be+seen+dead&l=0">http://fraze.it/n_search.jsp?q=wouldn%27t+be+seen+dead&l=0</a><o:p></o:p>;

What wouldn’t you be seen dead doing?  Where wouldn't you be seen dead?  Who wouldn't you be seen dead with?<o:p></o:p>

Oct 5, 2016 8:14 AM
Comments · 12

I wouldn't be seen dead walking in high heels

I wouldn't be seen dead smoking shisha

I wouldn't be seen dead wearing makeup

I wouldn't be seen dead at a cemetery at night

I wouldn't be seen dead at a beauty saloon

I wouldn't be seen dead with plastic people


Thank you Michael, I really like this expression ;')


October 5, 2016

Well done, Natalia.

Mumtaz, "plastic" is used to mean superficial, as you indicate, but I don't hear people say the phrase "plastic people" which is why the meaning would be unclear without further context. It would be more normal to say "He is plastic" rather than "he is a plastic person".

My other guess would have been someone who has had plastic surgery.

The cemetery example is a pun because we are using the idea of being dead as our figure of speech.  However, cemeteries are exactly where dead people end up. 

October 6, 2016

One of Hillary's supporters: "I wouldn't be seen dead voting for Trump."
This was the first sentence I thought of. :)
Other examples:
I wouldn't be seen dead eating locust.
I wouldn't be seen dead wearing artificial nails.
Ashley wouldn't be seen dead going out with her cousin.

Thank you for this new idiom. It's very useful and tells a lot just in a very short sentence.  

October 5, 2016
A 'dog track' is a place where people race dogs, specifically greyhounds. Well, as the name implies, there's a track and the dogs race round it.
October 5, 2016

Take my word for it, I wouldn't be seen going downstairs to the basement to scary music at night.


October 6, 2016
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Michael IELTS Band 9
Language Skills
English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Learning Language
German, Italian