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    #1

    a daughter of the horse-leech

    Dear teachers,

    I know the meaning of the phrase “the daughter of Eve” and the likes of it “a daughter of the horse-leech”. Would you be kind enough to tell me whether the mentioned phrases go into circulation in the contemporary English?

    He said it with a little bow, and a face that would have taken the heart to ask favors out of the daughters of the horse-leech.

    Thanks for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V

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    #2

    Re: a daughter of the horse-leech

    I've never heard of either phrase and would have to research their meaning if I were at all interested.

    They are certainly not in common circulation in contemporary English.

    Rover

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    #3

    Re: a daughter of the horse-leech

    I suspect that people would find "daughters of Eve" a lot easier to work out, but it's certainly not in common conversational usage, and trying to use it as such would get you a lot of odd looks from people!

    I think I came across it first in the Narnia books by C. S. Lewis, and I've seen it in poetry as well, just used to refer to females in general. There is a subset of meaning where it is used to refer to feminists, or women who are militant about equal rights and gender issues; it doesn't seem to be offensive but rather a term some women actively embrace.

    There's a beautiful poem by Rossetti with the phrase as a title which I would recommend, it's a lovely work about the nature of mortality and missed opportunities.


    The "daughters of the horse-leech" I think I recognise as biblical, though I can't, from memory alone, pinpoint the exact story (and thus the meaning of the phrase if used elsewhere); I would have to look it up. It is, however, certainly not in common everyday usage either.

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