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  1. #1
    tangelatm is offline Junior Member
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    Default What's the meaning of...?

    Hi again!
    I have come across a certain phrase in a joke and can't possibly translate it:"Once, while walking my dog, a setter, he acted so queerly about a certain man we met on the street that I asked the man his name and on hearing it, my dog didn't quite come to a set, though almost..."
    What does the underlined phrase mean and if it's a phrasal verb, how should I write it (the dictionary form, I mean). I have looked it up in my dictionaries but couldn't find it...
    Thanks a lot,
    Angela

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: What's the meaning of...?

    Quote Originally Posted by tangelatm View Post
    Hi again!
    I have come across a certain phrase in a joke and can't possibly translate it:"Once, while walking my dog, a setter, he acted so queerly about a certain man we met on the street that I asked the man his name and on hearing it, my dog didn't quite come to a set, though almost..."
    What does the underlined phrase mean and if it's a phrasal verb, how should I write it (the dictionary form, I mean). I have looked it up in my dictionaries but couldn't find it...
    Thanks a lot,
    Angela
    I'm not an expert on dogs, but I'd guess that "coming to a set" is the thing that setters do when they're being used as gun-dogs. In the same way that a pointer stands still on three legs and points at the prey ("points"), or a retriever goes and gets the (killed) prey ("retrieves") , a setter might "come to a set" (go very quiet? lie down? wag his tail? look at his master? go rigid? - I don't know the details).

    That's my guess. If I'm right, it's a very obscure phrasal verb. Any dog-handlers out there?

    b

  3. #3
    tangelatm is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: What's the meaning of...?

    Hi!
    Thanks Bob.I think I should give the whole joke for the meaning of the verb to become clearer.It reads:
    One would have it that a collie is the most sagacious of dogs, while the other stood up for the setter.
    "I once owned a setter ," declared the latter, "which was very intelligent. I had him on the street one day, and he acted so queerly about a certain man we met that I asked the man his name, and-"
    "Oh, that's an old story!" the collie's advocate broke in sneeringly."The man's name was Partridge, of course, and because of that that the dog came to a set.Ho. ho! Come again!"
    "You're mistaken," rejoined the other suavely."The dog didn't come come quite to a set, though almost.As a matter of fact, the man's name was Quayle, and the dog hesitated on account of the spelling!"
    Are things clearer now?
    Thanks again,
    Angela

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What's the meaning of...?

    BobK is right. I found this:

    A setter silently searches for game by scent. When prey is encountered the dog's behavior defies nature, and the dog freezes rather than chases after the game. Setters get their name from their distinctive stance; a sort of crouch or "set" upon finding their quarry.
    (from http://www.seefido.com/dog-kennel/ht..._boarding_.htm)

    I can't find any use of "come to a set" as a phrasal verb in itself, but probably the phrase is only ever used by gentlemen who hunt. Also, the wording of the joke (and the humour) seems quite dated, so it might be a phrase that has gone out of fashion.

    Sounds like the kind of joke that might have been printed in Punch magazine in the 1900s, if not earlier.

  5. #5
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: What's the meaning of...?

    Quote Originally Posted by tangelatm View Post
    Hi!
    Thanks Bob.I think I should give the whole joke for the meaning of the verb to become clearer.It reads:
    One would have it that a collie is the most sagacious of dogs, while the other stood up for the setter.
    "I once owned a setter ," declared the latter, "which was very intelligent. I had him on the street one day, and he acted so queerly about a certain man we met that I asked the man his name, and-"
    "Oh, that's an old story!" the collie's advocate broke in sneeringly."The man's name was Partridge, of course, and because of that that the dog came to a set.Ho. ho! Come again!"
    "You're mistaken," rejoined the other suavely."The dog didn't come come quite to a set, though almost.As a matter of fact, the man's name was Quayle, and the dog hesitated on account of the spelling!"
    Are things clearer now?
    Thanks again,
    Angela
    Remember that the point of the "joke", Angela, was to decide which dog, the collie or the setter, was the smartest.

    In the story the man was saying that his setter recognized the man's name as bird names [Partridge (the name)- partridge (the kind of bird) & Quayle (the name) - quail (the kind of bird)] but his dog DIDN'T bother to come to a set because the dog was so smart, it recognized the difference in spelling.

  6. #6
    tangelatm is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: What's the meaning of...?

    Hi!
    Thanks a lot for your help.Yes, you're right-I've found the joke in a book printed in the 1920s...
    Bye,
    Angela

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