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    #1

    tang

    Hi,

    What does the "with a tang to it" mean in this sentence?


    He treated murder as a joke with a tang to it.


    Thanks a lot

  1. Munch's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: tang

    A "tang" is a sharp, biting flavour. Some people put lemon in water, to make their drink "tangy".

    So murder was almost a joke to him, but to some degree he realized it was serious.

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    #3

    Re: tang

    Tang = sharp flavour (think of lemons)

    A joke with a tang has a sharpness, a bite.

    The writer may be talking about a murderer with a perverted way of looking at his 'work', or a detective, reporter or novelist who could see only the intriguing (for them) aspects of a murder.

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    #4

    Re: tang

    Is this the 'crossbow cannibal'? If so, he taunted (teased) the police and knew a lot about crime, so understood what he was doing, but also saw it in some ways as a game. If not, it could apply:
    BBC News - Crossbow Cannibal given life term for Bradford murders

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    #5

    Re: tang

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Is this the 'crossbow cannibal'? If so, he taunted (teased) the police and knew a lot about crime, so understood what he was doing, but also saw it in some ways as a game. If not, it could apply:
    BBC News - Crossbow Cannibal given life term for Bradford murders
    No, not really, I will make a further explanation in the following post.

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    #6

    Re: tang

    Thanks you three a lot.

    I got the sentence from my Chinese big dictionary, because the dictionary was edited by a professor in China, so I guess the sentences were made by himself.

    According to the Chinese counterpart of the sentence, it means:

    He thought killing someone was very common(indeed it is serious to kill someone), and within this commonness there was a little excitement.

    So I wonder if the sentence means what I mentioned above(the bold part) to you?

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    #7

    Re: tang

    Anyone can help to confirm it?

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    #8

    Re: tang

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    I got the sentence from my Chinese big dictionary, because the dictionary was edited by a professor in China, so I guess the sentences were made by himself.

    According to the Chinese counterpart of the sentence, it means:

    He thought killing someone was very common(indeed it is serious to kill someone), and within this commonness there was a little excitement.

    So I wonder if the sentence means what I mentioned above(the bold part) to you?
    I think Munch, Tdol and I have probably said all we can with the information we have at the moment. Does your professor present this sentence as a quotation which accompanies a definitition. If so, which word is he defining? Or is it an encylopaedic dictionary with the sentence as information about a person?
    I think that if you want confirmation (or rejection) of your thoughts, we'll neeed to see the whole dictionary entry.

    On the information so far, your interpretation of the meaning could be correct, but I cannot state absolutely that it is correct.

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    #9

    Re: tang

    Does your professor(He is not my professor but a professor from a very famous university in China, and the big paper dictionary was edited by him and some other aids.) present this sentence as a quotation which accompanies a definitition.(There isn't an English definition, but a Chinese translation following the sentence. Imagine that, Five, my dear friend, you look up a term in a dictionary, then you can see the definition and sentence rather than the definition of the whole sentence, am I right?) If so, which word is he defining?(tang) Or is it an encylopaedic dictionary with the sentence as information about a person? (Just a common Chinese-English dictionary)
    I think that if you want confirmation (or rejection) of your thoughts, we'll neeed to see the whole dictionary entry.(No need at all, you've helped me a lot)
    On the information so far, your interpretation of the meaning could be correct, but I cannot state absolutely that it is correct.(Thanks, so according to you, the translation is correct but not for sure. Can you tell me why you said "Could"? Did you mean there could be many interpretations of the sentence? Maybe he treated murder as a joke but to a certain degree it was serious, like Munch said? or It also could mean what I said, He treated murder as a joke and it made him felt excited?)
    Yours

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    #10

    Re: tang

    I don't think it means common- I think he didn't take it seriously, didn't suffer from moral qualms about doing it or the thought of doing it, and got some excitement out of it.

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