Kick the Bucket – allegedly the felon was standing on the bucket with the rope around his neck – to commence the hanging you literally kicked the bucket away.
Go West – or gone west; something that has gone very wrong; Tyburn was west from Newgate prison
Turned Off – when the felon was sent up the ladder to be hung, the ladder was turned to dislodge them, they were literally turned off
Derrick now a style of crane, based on the three legged gallows at Tyburn, from the hangman who devised it
I’ll swing for you, one of my mom’s favourites – literally I will hang for killing you
Hangers on – to help the felon to a speedier death, his friends and family would pull on their legs to add their weight. –
Money for old rope The hangman not only gained possession of the felon’s clothes, but also the rope that hanged them. This would be sold, normally by the inch, and would be more expensive, the more notorious they were – hence ‘money for old rope’
Croaked – meaning died (i.e. he’s croaked) – the noise of the felon being slowly strangled.
Pissing when you can’t whistle It was generally thought that at the moment of death, those being hung would urinate as the muscles relaxed. As men tended to whistle whilst urinating, a comparison was drawn-
Might as well be hung for a sheep... As stated – if the penalty was the same, you might as well go for the bigger prize.
In Limbo Prisoners after being sentenced to death would have a very good chance of commutation, and the cell they waited for news was named ‘limbo’, between heaven and earth.
Sticking your neck out What you had to do for the headsman
Put your head on the block again, a reference to taking a risk, with the block being that of the headsman
Heads will roll
Put the kibosh on it To spoil or ruin something – kibosh apparently being yiddish for black cap worn by the judge when passing a death sentence