Hamster firing squad?

There are many synonyms in English and it’s so important to choose the right word.

My son was telling me about a classmate who had an elderly and very ill hamster: “In the end they just had to have him executed.”

That gave me a bizarre mental image of a brave little rodent having a final cig before walking out to face the firing squad.

Executed is just not the right word there.  So what is?

Put down? Not bad but a bit too brutal. More appropriate for livestock.

Exterminated? It was a beloved family pet, not vermin.

Terminated? Not unless Arnie pulled the trigger.

Liquidated, eliminated or neutralized? Rather macho and most likely to be used in a spy film. “Mr Bond, the hamster  must be neutralised.”

Bumped off or wacked? Not unless the furry fellow was in the Mafia or the kingpin of a crime syndicate.

The right answer is of course, put to sleep. It’s gentle and respectful

We’ve all seen Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch. Several hundred times. That must be such a pig to translate subtitles for. It uses so many synonyms for dead. That’s the whole joke.

The hamster has popped his clogs/ is pushing up daisies/ has gone to the great gig in the sky etc etc. All wonderful expressions but not advisable when talking to a child who has just lost their dear little friend.

There we’d recommend: Hammy has passed away or the (rather cheesy) Hammy is with the angels now.

Hmmm! Hundreds of little  hamsters with wings running round a gigantic silver training wheel. No maybe not!

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