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    #1

    pour oil on troubled waters

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentence?

    He had an unnatural passion for sardines. He said ….that eating them was like pouring oil on troubled waters.

    pour oil on the troubled water = to do or say something in order to make people stop arguing and become calmer

    Thanks for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V

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    #2

    Re: pour oil on troubled waters

    This is the standard meaning, but it doesn't seem to make much sense here. I guess it must have something to do with his gippy tummy! Do you thionk you could give us a bit more context?

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    #3

    Re: pour oil on troubled waters

    Hi paul.moss,

    Thank you for your kindness.

    Unfortunately your cold speculation concerning the interpretation of the phrase in question “gippy tummy = diarrhoea, esp as experienced by visitors to hot climates” has not a grain of truth.

    The sentence in my original post is from Green’s “Travels with My Aunt”. The key words are “passion” and “ conceive a passion for” or “partiality”. The essence of the mentioned above sentence is that “eating of the sardines is soothing to him.” There are many verbs in English as: allay, mitigate, slake, quench, satisfy, assuage, still, aren’t they?

    Here is another example of usage of the phrase in question:

    ...mine managers admitted the miners on this field “were not surpassed anywhere for skill, industry and courage.”

    Pouring oil on the troubled waters,” Bill murmured. (They are trying to soothe us.... to lull our spirit of discontent.)

    V.

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