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    #1

    swamp things

    Dear teachers,

    In this excerpt from an essay on human pleasure:

    "Unlike
    tragedies, horror movies often have no redeeming aesthetic or
    intellectual qualities. But people like them, lining up to see innocents
    killed, tortured, and eaten by creatures such as zombies, axewielding
    psychopaths, sadistic aliens, swamp things, really mean
    babies, and, in one classic that I remember from way back (Rabid),
    a phallic growth coming out from an attractive woman’s armpit".

    I have difficulty understanding the meaning of "swamp things" and "really mean babies".

    What do these expressions mean?

    Thank you in advance,

    G.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: swamp things

    Quote Originally Posted by giuly90 View Post
    Dear teachers,

    In this excerpt from an essay on human pleasure:

    "Unlike tragedies, horror movies often have no redeeming aesthetic or
    intellectual qualities. But people like them, lining up to see innocents
    killed, tortured, and eaten by creatures such as zombies, axe-wielding psychopaths, sadistic aliens, swamp things, really mean babies, and, in one classic that I remember from way back (Rabid), a phallic growth coming out from an attractive woman’s armpit".

    I have difficulty understanding the meaning of "swamp things" and "really mean babies".

    What do these expressions mean?

    Thank you in advance,

    G.
    Swamp things are things that emerge from swamps - usually vaguely human shaped creatures with moss and water-plants hanging off them.
    Really mean babies are babies that are really mean.

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    #3

    Question mean

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    ...babies that are really mean.
    This is a question I have wanted to ask for a long time: When you read that someone is mean (without any further context), how can you decide what mean means? Is that person

    1.
    a. Selfish in a petty way; unkind.
    b. Cruel, spiteful, or malicious. (PS.: "She was the meanest cat in old Chicago town" Boney M': Ma Baker; I think they meant it that way, didn't they? )
    2. Ignoble; base: a mean motive.
    3. Miserly; stingy.
    4.
    a. Low in quality or grade; inferior.
    b. Low in value or amount; paltry: paid no mean amount for the new shoes.
    5. Common or poor in appearance; shabby: "The rowhouses had been darkened by the rain and looked meaner and grimmer than ever" (Anne Tyler).
    6. Low in social status; of humble origins.
    7. Humiliated or ashamed.
    8. In poor physical condition; sick or debilitated.
    9. Extremely unpleasant or disagreeable: The meanest storm in years.
    10. Informal Ill-tempered.
    11. Slang
    a. Hard to cope with; difficult or troublesome: He throws a mean fast ball.
    b. Excellent; skillful: She plays a mean game of bridge.

    Last edited by ~Mav~; 11-May-2010 at 01:40.

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    #4

    Re: mean

    Quote Originally Posted by ~Mav~ View Post
    This is a question I have wanted to ask for a long time: When you read that someone is mean (without any further context), how can you decide what mean means? Is that person

    1.
    a. Selfish in a petty way; unkind.
    b. Cruel, spiteful, or malicious. (PS.: "She was the meanest cat in old Chicago town" Boney M': Ma Baker; I think they meant it that way, didn't they? ) Yes.
    2. Ignoble; base: a mean motive.
    3. Miserly; stingy.
    He is so mean with his money.
    4.
    a. Low in quality or grade; inferior.
    b. Low in value or amount; paltry: paid no mean amount for the new shoes.
    5. Common or poor in appearance; shabby: "The rowhouses had been darkened by the rain and looked meaner and grimmer than ever" (Anne Tyler).
    6. Low in social status; of humble origins.
    7. Humiliated or ashamed.
    8. In poor physical condition; sick or debilitated.
    9. Extremely unpleasant or disagreeable: The meanest storm in years.
    10. Informal Ill-tempered.
    11. Slang
    a. Hard to cope with; difficult or troublesome: He throws a mean fast ball.
    b. Excellent; skillful: She plays a mean game of bridge.

    Generally, if no other context is given, it will usually mean 1. a or b.
    (Maybe that's why it's the first definition?)

    Mother: No, you can't go out tonight.
    Daughter: You're so mean!

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    #5

    Re: mean

    Thank you very much.
    Please allow me one more question about this. I came across the following sentence: "Shit, you play some mean cards, Shepard." (Commander Shepard won 500 bucks in a poker game.) Does the phrase "mean cards" refer to the last definition in the above mentioned list (i.e. Excellent; skillful: She plays a mean game of bridge.), or does it mean that Shepard had a wicked hand, she held such strong cards that were impossible to overcome? Which of these conveys the meaning of "you play some mean cards"? (My bet is on the latter one, the wicked hand, but I'm just guessing.)


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    #6

    Re: swamp things

    So "swamp things" could be replaced by "swamp monsters", right?

    Thank you for your help,

    G.

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    #7

    Re: mean

    Quote Originally Posted by ~Mav~ View Post
    Thank you very much.
    Please allow me one more question about this. I came across the following sentence: "Shit, you play some mean cards, Shepard." (Commander Shepard won 500 bucks in a poker game.) Does the phrase "mean cards" refer to the last definition in the above mentioned list (i.e. Excellent; skillful: She plays a mean game of bridge.), or does it mean that Shepard had a wicked hand, she held such strong cards that were impossible to overcome? Which of these conveys the meaning of "you play some mean cards"? (My bet is on the latter one, the wicked hand, but I'm just guessing.)
    I would say so. It's not slang that we use much in AusE, if at all.
    There's a few of these words that, in slang, mean the opposite to their primary denotation: mean, bad, fully sick, wicked ...

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