phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

What can it mean?

Posted by Henry on June 24, 2004

In Reply to: What can it mean? posted by Natty on June 24, 2004

: : : : : 1. The author talks about "dwellers in damp cellars and windy attics":

: : : : : ...the *clod-like* life of these human logs never knows one ray of light. From the hour when they crawl from their comfortless bed to the hour when they lounge back into it again they never live one moment of real life.

: : : : I'm disappointed that Natty declined to respond to my earlier invitation to him to tell us what he has been reading, that is, what these excerpts are from. SS

: : : : : What "clod-like" means in this context?
: : A clod is a lump of earth or clay. A stupid person may be called a clod or a clodpole. These people have no animation, no life above subsistence.
: :
: : : : : 2. The baby! We hardly *trust ourselves to speak*. The usual baby - we have seen it. As a rule, to be candid, we never could detect much beauty in babies - have always held the usual gush about them *to be insincere*. But this baby! We are almost on the point of asking them where they got it.

: : : : : What is the meaning of:

: : : : : a. trust ourselves to speak.
: : I think that they don't want to show their excitement.
: Can you formulate the expression "trust ourselves to speak" in another words?
When you try to hide laughter, you try to keep a straight face. Here I think they are trying to conceal enthusiasm. Perhaps, We didn't want to show our emotions, or We didn't want to appear over enthusiastic.

: : : : : b. to be insincere.
: : When people say, "What a beautiful baby," they usually don't mean it.
: Can you formulate the expression "to be insincere" in another words?
It means that they are not being completely truthful. Perhaps when people say, "What a beautiful baby", they are usually just being polite.

: : : : : 3. At every public meeting the *chief speaker* is always "a jolly good fellow."
: : : : : What is the meaning of *chief* speaker?
: : The chief speaker is the most important one, or the one who is going to talk on the most important subject.
: :
: : : : : 4. The days are gone by when it was considered manly to go to bed intoxicated every night, and a clear head and a firm hand no longer draw down upon their owner the reproach of effeminacy. On the contrary, in these *sadly* degenerate days an evil-smelling breath, a blotchy face, a reeling gait, and a husky voice are regarded as the hall marks of the cad rather than or the gentleman.

: : : : : Is it correct to replace "sadly" by "regrettably" in this context?
: : Here, the two words have a broadly similar meaning.

: : : : : Thank you!