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  1. #1
    vanveen is offline Newbie
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    definition

    Hello,
    could anyone please tell me if the expression "grocer's port" simply stand for a drink of a very bad quality in the following context:

    "In literature, vulgarity is preferable to nullity, just as grocer's port is preferable to distilled water."

    Even though it is clearly figurative here, could you please define exactly what kind of port in order to indicate how big the gap between these extremes is.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: definition

    Not a teacher.

    The phrase "grocer's port" is a new one to me. If you Google it you find this thread, the sentence you are trying to understand and one obituary using the phrase.

    I imagine "grocer's port" was a cheap port wine. Nothing fancy. What might be called a "table wine."

    ("Any port in a storm," to make a play on words.)

    The idea in the quote you reference is that having bad liquor is better than drinking water.

    The analogy is that he would rather read bad literature than have nothing to read.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: definition

    Cheap port at least tastes of something, unlike distilled water, so vulgarity is better than nothing.

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