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Thread: die on the vine

  1. #1
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default die on the vine

    Dear teachers,

    Would you tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentences?

    The program for rebuilding the city died on the vine.

    ...the Governor's proposal to reduce the State debt was "dying on the vine". (Manchester Guardian Weekly)

    die on the vine = to fail or collapse in the planning stages

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V

  2. #2
    riquecohen's Avatar
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    Default Re: die on the vine

    On the mark.

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    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: die on the vine

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    The program for rebuilding the city died on the vine.

    ...the Governor's proposal to reduce the State debt was "dying on the vine". (Manchester Guardian Weekly)

    die on the vine = to fail or collapse in the planning stages
    I think it means something a little bit different. When something dies or withers on the vine, it is wasted because nobody cares about it. Not necessarily in the planning stages. If a grape withers on the vine, it's wasted - the earth has used its goods to create it and now nobody's going to benefit from it.

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    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: die on the vine

    Quote Originally Posted by riquecohen View Post
    On the mark.
    Do you mean "die on the mark"? I've never heard it, and judging from the google search it doesn't seem to be popular. Or did you mean something else?

  5. #5
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: die on the vine

    wide of the mark = inaccurate, wrong

    “on the mark” has to be opposite of the “wide of the mark”

    on the mark and hit the mark, meaning "exactly right," as in He was right on the mark with that budget amendment, or Bill hit the mark when he accused Tom of lying

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    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: die on the vine

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    wide of the mark = inaccurate, wrong

    “on the mark” has to be opposite of the “wide of the mark”

    on the mark and hit the mark, meaning "exactly right," as in He was right on the mark with that budget amendment, or Bill hit the mark when he accused Tom of lying
    Thank you, I get it now.

    As I said above, I believe your interpretation is not on the mark. I hope somebody will comment on this.

  7. #7
    Tullia's Avatar
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    Default Re: die on the vine

    I would say it is not necessarily failing at the planning stages. It could also refer to something planned and started, but not completed.


    It is the lack of full completion that is for me the relevant factor, the failure to come fully to fruition. When something dies on the vine, it hasn't been picked and eaten (or turned into wine I suppose), which was the intended end outcome.


    For something that fails at the planning stages and never gets started, we can also say things like "never left the drawing board" or "got stuck on the drawing board" or "never got off the page".

  8. #8
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    Default Re: die on the vine

    Quote Originally Posted by Tullia View Post
    I would say it is not necessarily failing at the planning stages. It could also refer to something planned and started, but not completed.


    It is the lack of full completion that is for me the relevant factor, the failure to come fully to fruition. When something dies on the vine, it hasn't been picked and eaten (or turned into wine I suppose), which was the intended end outcome.


    For something that fails at the planning stages and never gets started, we can also say things like "never left the drawing board" or "got stuck on the drawing board" or "never got off the page".
    The governor of New Jersey has just killed a planned project for a train tunnel under the Hudson River. The project was never begun. Would you not say that it died on the vine?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: die on the vine

    Quote Originally Posted by riquecohen View Post
    The governor of New Jersey has just killed a planned project for a train tunnel under the Hudson River. The project was never begun. Would you not say that it died on the vine?

    I might say that, yes. As I said above, I think it can be used for projects halted at the planning stage; I just think it is not limited to only being used for that; it can also refer to projects where the practical stages are begun but not completed.

    (The more I think about it, I might perhaps prefer to avoid it for things failing at the planning stages because there are other idioms available that more precisely refer to that, rather than have the possibility of "half completion" open as well. However, that doesn't make the usage of it to refer to things failing in the planning stages wrong!)

  10. #10
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: die on the vine

    I think the idiom, besides the failure of fruition, connotes the potential of it. That's what, I suppose, can make people think of beginnings. It's sometimes hard to tell one from the other. Let's take the most obvious example (I'll let myself return to it): grapes on the vine wither. Withering of plants is not the beginning of their vegetation. But, if we think of it in terms of making wine, we'll see it as the very beginning of the process - which never came to an end. Nevertheless, I still believe the main connotation of "withering on the vine" here is the lack of interest which caused the grapes to wither. It's still the ripe grapes that we harvest, not unripe.

    Another example. My country is now preparing to Euro 2012 and we have to create a lot of infrastructure. The works are at an advanced stage - but if the government stops giving money and building companies find other priorities, the project will die on the vine!
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 19-Oct-2010 at 15:26. Reason: grammar sucks :-/

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