Understanding the Idiom: "blow to kingdom come" - Meaning, Origins, and Usage

Idiom language: English
Etymology: From blow (“to cause to explode, shatter, or be utterly destroyed”) + to + kingdom come (“place that one will go to after one’s death, afterlife; death; state of complete annihilation; heaven or paradise”). Kingdom come is derived from the phrase “Thy kingdom come” from the Lord’s Prayer which is recorded in Matthew 6:9–13 and Luke 11:2–4 in the Bible: see, for example, Matthew 6:10 in the King James Version (spelling modernized): “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, in earth, as it is in heaven.” By these sentences, Jesus seeks the establishment of the rule of God the Father over the Earth in the future.

The Origins of “Blow to Kingdom Come”

The exact origin of this idiom is unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the 19th century. The term “kingdom come” refers to heaven or the afterlife, which suggests that something blown to kingdom come would be completely obliterated or sent out of existence.

One theory suggests that the phrase may have been inspired by biblical references such as Matthew 6:10 (“Thy kingdom come”) and Revelation 11:15 (“The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord”). Another theory proposes that it may have originated from military slang during World War I when soldiers used it to describe enemy targets they had successfully destroyed.

Usage and Examples

Today, “blow to kingdom come” is commonly used in everyday language as a hyperbolic expression for extreme destruction or devastation. It can be applied in various contexts such as natural disasters, accidents, conflicts, financial crises, relationships gone wrong, etc.

For example:

– The tornado blew away everything in its path; houses were blown to kingdom come.

– The car crash was so severe that both vehicles were blown to kingdom come.

– The company’s reputation was blown to kingdom come after a major scandal broke out.

– Their friendship was blown to kingdom come after they had a huge argument.

Origins and Historical Context of the Idiom “blow to kingdom come”

The phrase “blow to kingdom come” is a common idiom used in English language, which refers to a powerful explosion that destroys something completely. The origins of this phrase can be traced back to the 17th century when it was first recorded in literature.

During this time, England was involved in several wars and conflicts, including the English Civil War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars. Explosives were commonly used as weapons during these battles, and soldiers would often use phrases like “blow them sky-high” or “send them to kingdom come” when referring to their enemies.

The term “kingdom come” is believed to have originated from the Lord’s Prayer, where it is mentioned as a reference to heaven or the afterlife. Over time, it became associated with destruction and annihilation due to its use in military contexts.

Today, the idiom “blow to kingdom come” is still widely used in everyday language and has become a part of popular culture through various forms of media such as movies and books. Its historical context serves as a reminder of how language evolves over time and reflects changes in society’s values and beliefs.

Usage and Variations of the Idiom “blow to kingdom come”

The idiom “blow to kingdom come” is a powerful expression that describes an explosive event that completely destroys something. This phrase has been used in various contexts, from describing natural disasters to military operations. It’s a versatile idiom that can be adapted to fit different situations.

Variations of the Idiom

While the basic meaning of “blow to kingdom come” remains consistent, there are variations of this phrase that have emerged over time. One such variation is “send someone/something to kingdom come,” which means the same thing as blowing something up or destroying it completely.

Another variation is “blast/obliterate/send/pulverize something into kingdom come,” which emphasizes the force and power behind an explosion or destructive event.

Usage Examples

The idiom “blow to kingdom come” can be used in a variety of ways depending on the context. For example:

  • “The tornado blew away everything in its path, sending houses and cars to kingdom come.”
  • “The bomb blast obliterated the entire building, blasting it into kingdom come.”
  • “The earthquake shook the city so violently that it felt like everything was being sent straight to kingdom come.”

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Cultural Insights for the Idiom “blow to kingdom come”


Some common synonyms for “blow to kingdom come” include:

  • Blast into oblivion
  • Demolish completely
  • Destroy beyond recognition
  • Raze to the ground
  • Eradicate without a trace


The opposite of “blowing something to kingdom come” would be preserving or protecting it. Some antonyms could include:

  • Maintain intact
  • Safeguard from harm
  • Preserve from destruction
  • Protect against damage or loss
  • Keep out of harm’s way

Cultural Insights: The phrase “kingdom come” comes from the Lord’s Prayer where it says “Thy Kingdom Come”. In American culture, the idiom has been popularized through movies and TV shows depicting explosions that send people flying through the air. It is often used in a humorous context when referring to over-the-top destruction.

Practical Exercises for the Idiom “blow to kingdom come”

In order to fully grasp the meaning of the idiom “blow to kingdom come”, it is important to practice using it in various contexts. The following exercises will help you become more familiar with this expression and its usage.

Exercise 1: Write a short story or paragraph using the idiom “blow to kingdom come” in a literal sense. For example, you could write about a bomb exploding and destroying everything in its path.

Exercise 2: Use the idiom “blow to kingdom come” in a figurative sense by describing an event or situation that has been completely ruined or destroyed. For instance, you could talk about a project at work that went terribly wrong and resulted in significant losses.

Exercise 3: Create a dialogue between two people where one person uses the idiom “blow to kingdom come” incorrectly, and the other person corrects them. This exercise will help you understand how idioms can be misused and how important it is to use them correctly.

Exercise 4: Watch a movie or TV show where characters use idiomatic expressions like “blow to kingdom come”. Pay attention to how they are used in context, as well as their tone of voice and body language when using them.

By practicing these exercises regularly, you’ll become more confident with using idiomatic expressions like “blow to kingdom come” accurately and appropriately.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the Idiom “blow to kingdom come”

When using idioms in conversation or writing, it’s important to use them correctly. The idiom “blow to kingdom come” is no exception. This phrase is often used when describing a powerful explosion that destroys everything in its path. However, there are some common mistakes that people make when using this idiom.

One mistake is using the phrase too casually or frequently. While it may be tempting to use colorful language, overusing an idiom can make it lose its impact and become cliché. Another mistake is using the phrase out of context or incorrectly. For example, saying “I’m going to blow this project to kingdom come” doesn’t make sense because it’s not referring to an explosion.

It’s also important to understand the origin of the idiom before using it. “Kingdom come” refers to heaven or the afterlife, so blowing something up “to kingdom come” means destroying it completely and sending it beyond repair.

In addition, be careful not to confuse this idiom with similar phrases such as “send someone packing” or “blast off”. These phrases have different meanings and contexts.

To avoid these common mistakes when using the idiom “blow to kingdom come”, take time to understand its meaning and origin before incorporating it into your conversations or writing. Use it sparingly and appropriately for maximum impact and clarity in communication.


  1. kingdom come, n.”, in OED Online ?, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2017; “kingdom come, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  2. The Holy Bible, … (King James Version), London: … Robert Barker, …, 1611, >OCLC, Matthew 6:10, column 2: “Thy kingdome come. Thy will be done, in earth, as it is in heauen.”
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