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On Wednesday news hit the headlines that Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor had passed away at the age of 79. On Twitter, the hashtag ‘RIP Elizabeth Taylor’ (#ripelizabethtaylor) has been trending ever since. But what does RIP mean and where does it come from?

RIP (also spelled R.I.P) is an abbreviation for ‘rest in peace’, or to be more precise, it actually stands for the Latin ‘requiescat in pace’, which means ‘rest in peace’ or ‘may he/she/it/they rest in peace’. RIP used to be carved onto gravestones, presumably to save space for more personal information to be included, but today, its use is much wider and often mixed with humour. The latter fortunately is not the case for its  current popular occurance on Twitter.

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Kati Sule

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