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Thread: at one remove

    • Join Date: Nov 2009
    • Posts: 143

    at one remove

    Hello! I'm omasta and I'm the first time here. I hope to get an answer to my question: what does the phrase "at one remove" mean?
    Thank you for having me here.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,269

    Re: at one remove

    Hello omasta, and welcome to the forums.

    The phrase you've quoted doesn't mean anything to me. Can you give the entire sentence?
    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.

    • Join Date: Nov 2009
    • Posts: 143

    Re: at one remove

    This is from the Vincent Cable's article in The Times:
    "All bankers’ remuneration packages greater than the Prime Minister’s — say £200,000 — should be publicly declared, just as directors’ are. Like MPs and BBC executives, bankers depend, albeit at one remove, on the taxpayer and should not be allowed to hide what they earn."

    Thank you.

    Ps: the underline is mine.

    • Join Date: Nov 2009
    • Posts: 191

    Re: at one remove


    We can tell you... but don't try using it: very few will know what you are talking about!

    It is the use of 'remove' as a noun, meaning "a degree of remoteness or separation"
    "At this remove, the whole incident seems ridiculous."

    If I am a shopkeeper/hair dresser/mow lawns for a living, there is a direct exchange of the customer's cash for my goods or services.

    In contrast, I earn a salary, and pay my TV licence fee, and that money goes to the BBC to provide the national services...and BBC employees, including BBC executives, are paid from that money. There is a degree of separation from my paying a licence fee at a post office, to the BBC executives receiving their salaries from this.

    Similarly, I deposit money at a bank for safe keeping and interest earned on my capital; the bank makes money by lending the money at higher interest rates, and so is able to pay the people who work in the bank - the 'bankers'. So, the bankers depend on me, depend on people depositing money with them, but not directly: unlike handing my money directly to the man who mows my lawn for his services, I give my money to the bank, and the bank then pays their employees, the 'bankers'. So, they depend on me, but 'at one remove' - the bank as an institution stands between me and its employees.

    Compare, 'six degrees of separation'.

    • Join Date: Nov 2009
    • Posts: 143

    Re: at one remove

    Thank you very much for your excellent explanation.

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