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  1. #1
    lonelymelody is offline Newbie
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    Question I ripped him off an email from my Blackberry!

    The other day I was reading an interesting article about dinosaurs when I came across to the phrase Rip Off. I looked it up in the dictionary but none of the definitions there turned out to be suitable to make the meaning of the sentence I encountered sensible. I have quoted part of that article's paragraph here. Please if you know the meaning write it here giving a reference unless you are a native English speaker.
    Thanks in advance.

    the exact paragraph: "I realized when I read the New York Times article and saw Mary Schweitzer's story of having uncovered this dinosaur that this is exactly the sort of thing that would appeal to John and hence ripped him off an e-mail from my Blackberry," Cantley said. "John of course took the bait." Schweitzer readily agreed to provide T. rex bone samples. "She knew from our last collaboration that I was not going to stop until I found something," Asara said.

    If you are interested in the whole article follow the link below:

    http://web.med.harvard.edu/sites/RELEASES/html/TRex.html

    the definitions in the dictionary are:(Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English)

    rip somebody/something ↔ off phrasal verb

    1-to charge someone too much money for something
    ᅳsynonym overchargeThe agency really ripped us off.
    2-to steal something
    Somebody had come in and ripped off the TV and stereo.
    3-to take words, ideas etc from someone else's work and use them in your own work as if they were your own ideas
    synonym: plagiarize

    Last edited by lonelymelody; 24-Jul-2007 at 14:53.

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: I ripped him off an email from my Blackberry!

    It's none of the dictionary meanings. It seems to be a new colloquialism meaning I sent him a rapid message

  3. #3
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    Default Re: I ripped him off an email from my Blackberry!

    "Rip off" does mean to cheat someone; it can also be a noun ("lunch at Chez Pierre is such an overpriced rip-off").

    I think what is going on in your quote is that the speaker used the verb "rip" to mean "to move quickly" and then added "off." A more usual phrase would be "I sent off an email" or "I dashed off an email."

    I googled "ripped off a letter" and got 10 hits, six for "ripped off an email." In the present tense there were 3 hits for "rip off a letter" and 2 for "rip off an email." So while uncommon, this usage is not unique.

    [native speaker and writer, not a teacher]

  4. #4
    lonelymelody is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: I ripped him off an email from my Blackberry!

    Thanks a lot Angelica and Delmobile! I agree that sending an email quickly is a sensible meaning to fit in that sentence.

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