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    #1

    a bum steer

    Dear teachers,

    Would you share with me your opinion concerning the interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentences?

    Did you ever know a man named Gulligan give you a bum steer? (W. Faulkner, “Solder’s Pay”)

    But Georgina gave you a bum steer about Jane, I think. (J. Jones, “A Touch of Danger”)

    It’s a real pleasure to work with an intelligent private detective. So damn many chaps is the business don’t know which side of the bread has the butter. You can’t depend on them to give you a damn thing except a bum steer. (E. S. Gardner, Double or Quits”)

    bum = a person who is deemed to be despicable or contemptible

    bum steer = false or poor information or advice

    give a bum steer = mislead, delude, deceive

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V.

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    #2

    Re: a bum steer

    bum steer = false or poor information or advice
    give a bum steer = mislead, delude, deceive


    vil.
    In the examples you give, "bum steer" is close to the two definitions I've copied.
    – "bum" is used in the slang sense of "faulty" or of "poor quality". For example a "bum note" is an off-key note in music: "The piano was not tuned properly and I kept hitting bum notes".
    – "to steer" is to control or guide the movement of something.
    Hence, a "bum steer" is to give somebody faulty information, especially if it leads to them taking the wrong course of action.

    not a teacher
    Last edited by JMurray; 09-Feb-2011 at 09:51.

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