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RIP is a common condolence uttered when someone has died. Nevertheless, I, though unwillingly, advised a mischievous kid who was trying to get into the room where a tired elderly man was in (resting peacefully?). I said:

Hey, don't make noise and go in that room. Let him rest peacefully!

Note: I was not pretty sure whether the man was sleeping but it was confirmed that he went in that room to take rest. That's why I didn't use let him sleep peacefully.

After uttering that sentence, I was shocked for a while. And there comes the question -

May we use 'rest peacefully' if want to mean 'let someone alive rest in ataraxis!'? What's the outcome of Rest peacefully Vs. Rest in peace?

Searching dictionaries or the internet for "rest in peace" gives results of condolence and nothing else.

  • I think you intended to say "Let him sleep quietly". I also think saying "Do not interrupt him" or "Do not disturb him" also works. – Damkerng T. Jan 18 '14 at 9:23
  • @DamkerngT. Read my note. And yes, Don't disturb him is okay but then did I say it incorrectly? Let him rest peacefully? Cannot it mean let him rest in a peaceful manner. – Maulik V Jan 18 '14 at 9:53
  • Oh! I'm sorry! I was really confused and swapped your rest and sleep. The word peaceful (and peace too), when being used with either resting or sleeping, remind me of the phrase "pass away", strongly enough that I would avoid it. But if I am sleeping calmly, I think I probably don't mind if someone said that I am sleeping peacefully or resting peacefully. Anyway, I think native speakers can easily make this nuance clear. – Damkerng T. Jan 18 '14 at 10:08
  • What the heck is ataraxis? (You don't need to answer that; I'm just pointing out that it's a very rarely used word.) – J.R. Jan 18 '14 at 10:59
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Sure, we can say that.

Stop making so much noise out there! I'm trying to take a nap. Let me rest in peace.

Of course, rest in peace is an idiom often applied to the deceased, so such a request may be met with a few giggles. However, there's nothing grammatically or semantically wrong with that request, and its meaning seems clear from the context.

As to how to avoid conjuring up the dead (pun intended), a common idiom is do not disturb, which is how many hotels opt to word it.

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So, one alternative might be:

Stop making so much noise out there! I'm trying to take a nap – please don't disturb me.

Or, the peacefully part can simply be inferred from context:

Stop making so much noise out there! I'm trying to take a nap. Please stay quiet, so I can rest.

After all, how else would we want to rest?

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