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In the dictionary

put an animal, a bird, etc. out of its misery ​ to kill a creature because it has an illness or injury that cannot be treated

In the end we asked the vet to put the poor creature out of its misery.

So, I understand that an animal or even a person is physically suffering a lot and there is no way to cure them and they will die eventually. So, it's better to kill them now so that they will not suffer any more.

Say, a patient who has a serious illness and it is hurting him so much so the patient might say to his doctor "Please put me out of misery" which is another way of saying "Please kill me".

Say, you like Liverpool soccer team and Liverpool is playing against Manchester United now.

Now Manchester is winning 3-0 against Liverpool and Liverpool is losing. Mow Manchester scores another goal to be winning 4-0. The fourth goal assures the match that Manchester wins.

Can we say "The fourth goal put me out of misery" and "The fourth goal put Liverpool out of misery"?

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  • 3
    The expression would be 'Please put me out of my misery' and 'put them out of their misery'. Jan 17, 2023 at 9:27

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It usually describes the misery of a participant: not of a spectator.

It always takes a possessive: out of my misery, out of their misery...

The 'misery' is often a state of not knowing. "Did I pass or fail? Tell me! Put me out of my misery!"

The result has to be decisive and final. In your own example, the fourth goal is only slightly more decisive than the third! Didn't the third put Liverpool out of their misery?

If Manchester United are utterly dominant throughout a long and goalless match, and then, in the last minute of added time, they score, we might say, "They have finally put Liverpool out of their misery." The whole match was a misery for Liverpool and they were glad it was over.

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No. Absolutely not.

In the case of personal suffering ended by euthanasia, there is a change in state terminating the original suffering.

In the case of the fourth goal, the same misery is continued and even enhanced. There is no change in state which is the essence of the putting out of misery idiom. The same applies to your misery as a supporter of the losing team.

Notice that “putting out of misery” has an implied irony. The doctor does something terrible, yet your misery is relieved. There is no irony at all in the beat-down continuing with a fourth goal.

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  • When Manchester scored the forth goal, Liverpool was already dead and there is not hope at all. That looks like a last stab that kills a person.
    – Tom
    Jan 17, 2023 at 9:11

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