Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    NewHopeR is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    1,049
    Post Thanks / Like

    Does "dry" mean "dull" here? That is, the word is a bit derogatory.

    Context:


    Dry enough to dazzle a visitor with a classical quotation or fry him in the heavy oil of silence.

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    20,219
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Does "dry" mean "dull" here? That is, the word is a bit derogatory.

    Quote Originally Posted by NewHopeR View Post
    Context:


    Dry enough to dazzle a visitor with a classical quotation or fry him in the heavy oil of silence.
    No, it doesn't mean 'dull', especially given that he (?) can 'dazzle' a visitor. He might be dry if he was boring the visitor with a classical quotation.
    But it also doesn't make sense. The first clause on it's own might be understandable, but "Dry enough to ... fry someone in oil"? Oil is not dry. "Dry" could mean emotionless.

    Is this non-native writing, or a translation? Where's the quote from?

  3. #3
    stanislaw.masny is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    30,481
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Does "dry" mean "dull" here? That is, the word is a bit derogatory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    No, it doesn't mean 'dull', especially given that he (?) can 'dazzle' a visitor. He might be dry if he was boring the visitor with a classical quotation.
    But it also doesn't make sense. The first clause on it's own might be understandable, but "Dry enough to ... fry someone in oil"? Oil is not dry. "Dry" could mean emotionless.

    Is this non-native writing, or a translation? Where's the quote from?
    It is from "MAO: A BIOGRAPHY" by Ross Terril.

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    20,219
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Does "dry" mean "dull" here? That is, the word is a bit derogatory.

    Quote Originally Posted by stanislaw.masny View Post
    It is from "MAO: A BIOGRAPHY" by Ross Terril.
    Fine. Do you know what it means?
    It would make more sense as "[He was] Dry enough to dazzle a visitor with a classical quotation and wet enough to fry him in the heavy oil of silence."
    I admit defeat.

  5. #5
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5,291
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Does "dry" mean "dull" here? That is, the word is a bit derogatory.

    Quote Originally Posted by stanislaw.masny View Post
    It is from "MAO: A BIOGRAPHY" by Ross Terril.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) Thank you so much for identifying the author of this beautiful sentence.

    (2) Thanks to you, I was able to read the relevant section of the book on Google books.

    (3) As the teachers always tell us learners: Context! Context! Context!

    (4) The sentence just before this sentence is:

    "Mao never lost the duality of being a taut wire of pure mind, yet also sensual as a

    cat."

    (5) Thus that sentence seems, ONLY in my opinion, to mean something like:

    He was dry enough [that is, he did it in a matter-of - fact or "cold" way] to dazzle

    a visitor by effortlessly mentioning some classical quotation or [in a similarly

    matter-of-fact or unemotional way] of being silent [and letting the visitor fry uncomfortably

    in the boiling oil of silence. As we all know, human beings are terrified by silence.

    That's why silence is considered the height of contempt].

    (6) Speaking of context, the following sentence then shows his "sensual" side.

    The sentence tells us that he would often put his hand into his trousers in order to

    deal with some lice!

    (7) In my opinion, the word "dry" is NOT being used in a derogatory sense in that

    sentence.

  6. #6
    NewHopeR is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    1,049
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Does "dry" mean "dull" here? That is, the word is a bit derogatory.

    Well analyzed, TheParser.
    Thank you.

Similar Threads

  1. "Dull sliver barrel"; what does it mean?
    By toril in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 14-Jun-2011, 15:20
  2. [Idiom] idioms meaning "very dull, very boring"
    By Olenek in forum English Idioms and Sayings
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 02-May-2011, 15:38
  3. Defining "Street," "Road," "Avenue," "Boulevard"
    By ahumphreys in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 31-Dec-2010, 08:14
  4. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-Sep-2008, 09:27
  5. confusing words "expressed" or "express" and "named" or"names"
    By Dawood Usmani in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 26-Oct-2007, 20:33

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •