Did someone reference the phrase “kiss me, Hardy”? You may wonder what it means and assume it to be an idiom. “Kiss me, Hardy” is, in fact, a famous phrase the famous Admiral Nelson reportedly uttered on his deathbed.
This post explores the circumstances behind the words.
“Kiss me, Hardy” is neither an idiom nor a popular phrase. It is, instead, a quote.
Celebrated British naval hero Admiral Horatio Nelson was reported to have said these words just before he died during the famous battle of Trafalgar aboard the HMS Victory.
The Hardy in question is Sir Thomas Hardy, a naval officer who served as Nelson’s flag captain and Nelson’s close friend.
Since “kiss me, Hardy” is a quote rather than an idiom, there isn’t much opportunity to put this phrase into action. You may say:
- “Admiral Nelson famously said ‘Kiss me, Hardy’ before dying.”
- “I’ve been nerding out about British naval history. I swear I’ll say ‘Kiss me, Hardy’ before I die when I play a first-person shooter game next.”
- “People have been so confused by Admiral Nelson’s parting words that they claim he was probably speaking Turkish when he said, ‘Kiss me, Hardy.’ Is it so strange to want a parting kiss before setting off to the afterlife?”
Horatio Nelson, who had the titles First Viscount Nelson and First Duke of Bronte, lived from 1758 to 1905. He is more commonly known simply as Admiral Nelson.
Admiral Nelson remains the most celebrated British naval officer to this day. His strategic decisions and bravery led to unparalleled victories during the Napoleonic and French Revolutionary wars.
Admiral Nelson died as he lived — in battle. A French Sniper shot him aboard the flagship HMS Victory during the battle that later became known as the Battle of Trafalgar. The British navy fought joint Spanish and French forces in this battle and won, but certainly not without casualties.
Admiral Nelson spoke to his friend and flag captain Thomas Hardy as he was dying, an event several people, including the ship’s doctor, witnessed first-hand.
The Admiral’s last words included a request not to throw him overboard and a plea for Hardy to take care of his lover, Lady Hamilton.
Admiral Nelson then reportedly said, “Kiss me, Hardy,” after which Captain Hardy is said to have kissed him on the cheek or forehead.
These words were not Admiral Nelson’s last. After the kiss, Nelson is said to have repeated the phrase, “Thank God I have done my duty.” This may have referred to Britain’s impending victory in the Battle of Trafalgar or Nelson’s service to his country in general.
The phrase has inspired controversy through the ages. Believing the request to be strange, some have said that Admiral Nelson said “Kismet, Hardy” instead. “Kismet” is a Turkish word that means “fate,” but the loanword didn’t reach the English language until decades after Nelson’s death.
Phrases Similar to Kiss Me, Hardy
Other famous last words include:
- “Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.” — Poet and playwright Oscar Wilde.
- “The taste of death is upon my lips. I feel something that is not of this earth.” — Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- “It is well, I die hard, but I am not afraid to go.” — US President George Washington
- “Oh, wow.” — Apple CEO Steve Jobs
- “I hope I haven’t bored you.” — Rock star Elvis Presley
What Is the Correct Saying?
The correct phrase is “Kiss me, Hardy.” However, Admiral Nelson’s last words were “Thank God I have done my duty.”
Ways People May Say Kiss Me, Hardy Incorrectly
It is not difficult to find people who argue that Admiral Nelson said “Kismet, Hardy” instead of “Kiss me, Hardy.” There is no evidence for this. Eyewitnesses also saw Hardy kissing Admiral Nelson, reportedly on the forehead or cheek.
Acceptable Ways to Phrase Kiss Me, Hardy
You can utter the phrase “Kiss me, Hardy” to discuss Admiral Nelson’s famous dying words. You could even use the phrase to joke about your impending death, perhaps if you experience a scary moment while paddle boarding or playing a video game with naval fighting.