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  1. #1
    nagafa is offline Newbie
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    Default He had the balls to ask me out

    What does this sentence means ?
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: He had the balls to ask me out

    He had the courage to ask her out for a date.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: He had the balls to ask me out

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    He had the courage to ask her out for a date.
    Yes.

    The expression may be used positively or negatively. Without additional context one cannot be sure, but I suspect that the speaker in this example was using it negatively - he had the nerve/cheek/impudence to ask me out!

    Note that balls is a slang term for testicles. To have the balls to ... is therefore not an expression that would be considered appropriate in more sensitive circles

  4. #4
    nagafa is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: He had the balls to ask me out

    @birdeen's call: Thanks for your help

    @fivejedjon: Thanks but I support birdeen's call as the complete sentence makes sense with that meaning, I was just wondering * and curious as well * how "balls" means courage or guts !

    and Thanks both again for your help

  5. #5
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    Default Re: He had the balls to ask me out

    By considering those male bits as the source of a man's courages and strength, if a man has the courage and strength to do something, you say he had the balls to do it. Guts is another slangy way to say courage.

    And do please note 5jj's comment that it's considered a bit vulgar in some circles. For some reason, using the Spanish word for them makes it less vulgar so you'll hear that in the US as well.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. #6
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: He had the balls to ask me out

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    For some reason, using the Spanish word for them makes it less vulgar so you'll hear that in the US as well.
    Maybe that is because a foreign expression does not carry the same 'weight' as a native one, if you know what I mean. Although you fully understand the term, the fact that it is expressed in another language somehow turns it lighter.

    The opposite happens frequently in this forum. Many swear words in English are used by non native English speakers with much more ease and readiness, even when they know exactly the meaning of them.

  7. #7
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: He had the balls to ask me out

    Not an ESL teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    By considering those male bits as the source of a man's courage and strength, if a man has the courage and strength to do something, you say he had the balls to do it.
    I think it is also important to state clearly that this expression, although largely used with the meanings already explained, is highly biased and implies the prejudice that men are more courageous and strong (in several senses) than women.

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: He had the balls to ask me out

    Quote Originally Posted by Abstract Idea View Post
    Not an ESL teacher



    I think it is also important to state clearly that this expression, although largely used with the meanings already explained, is highly biased and implies the prejudice that men are more courageous and strong (in several senses) than women.
    Prejudice?

  9. #9
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: He had the balls to ask me out

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Prejudice?
    Sorry fivejedjon. I don't know if I used the wrong word or if you are just joking and being sarcastic.

    If the case is the first option, then please let me know the correct word here - I think
    you understand what I meant.

    If the case is the second one, it may be a controversial matter. But I have the balls (censored) enough to admit it is biased. (I don't know to how much extent am I in a sensitive circle).

    Finally, for the learners, it should be clear that, in normal conditions, this expression is used solely by men.

  10. #10
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: He had the balls to ask me out

    Quote Originally Posted by Abstract Idea View Post
    Finally, for the learners, it should be clear that, in normal conditions, this expression is used solely by men.
    The OP's sentence seems to refute this. (Seems to me, but that could be caused by my prejudice that most people are heterosexual.)

    Maybe you meant "used to describe men"? Well, I think that's not entirely true either (see this for example).

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