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Old 10-05-2019, 06:22 AM
Aspidistra is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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My understanding was the complete opposite - once "passed away" had been firmly fixed as a euphemism for "died", people started abbreviating it to "passed", because the "away" was understood.

Looking at the ngram viewer results for the phrase is interesting. You do see individual people "passing away" as early as the nineteenth century, but that big bulge in the middle is mostly not that - it's a whole heap of Bible references ("heaven and earth had passed away"), plus "former generations" (rather than individuals) passing away, plus even quite mundane things like a person travelling to another town "passing away" by going down the road.
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Last edited by Aspidistra; 10-05-2019 at 06:22 AM.