Would you be kind enough to help me to interpret the word in bold in the following excerpt from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”?
"I don't know what to do!" cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocooen of himself with his stockings. "I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world. Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!"
He had frisked into the sitting-room, and was now standing there: perfectly winded.
I know by the way two contradictory meanings (a common occurrence in English language)
· To cause to be out of or short of breath.
· To afford a recovery of breath: stopped to wind and water the horses.
I stumbled at that ambiguity.
Thank for your efforts.
First of all I hadn't heard of the use (with horses) and now I see your issue with the meaning. At first I thought that it was just the first meaning...that he was jumping around and now out of breath (winded) but now with the additional meaning...it could be either. I now lean towards the second meaning that you mention because scrooge is so energetic and positive that maybe dispite his jumping around and using his energy...he might be still energetic like a newly winded horse.
I think the only way you could know 100% is to see the play and take it in context. If scrooge is gasping for breath and sitting in a chair without energy...then the first meaning, but if he is jumping around and energetic then the second.
Sorry that I couldn't help any more.
Last edited by English-coach; 25-Jan-2009 at 12:35.
He was out of breath.
The "second" meaning you provide is essentially saying that you give a horse time to regain its wind [breath] following exertion.