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    #1

    to chink away at

    Hi

    What does "chink away" mean in the following context?

    "He had been busy writing, chinking away at a story he'd begun since last Aug."

    I can't find the phrase "chink away" in the dictionary, could anyone help me out?

    Thank you very much.

  1. freezeframe's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: to chink away at

    Quote Originally Posted by IQU3838 View Post
    Hi

    What does "chink away" mean in the following context?

    "He had been busy writing, chinking away at a story he'd begun since last Aug."

    I can't find the phrase "chink away" in the dictionary, could anyone help me out?

    Thank you very much.
    Where did you find this? "He'd begun since last August"? It's not a very grammatical sentence.

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    #3

    Re: to chink away at

    I expect the intended meaning is how I would use the word "chipping." Making slow but steady progress on something.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #4

    Re: to chink away at

    I would probably not use the word "chink" since it is also a derogatory word used for Chinese people.

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    #5

    Exclamation Re: to chink away at

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I would probably not use the word "chink" since it is also a derogatory word used for Chinese people.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) Excellent point.

    (2) That is why thoughtful and well-mannered people no longer

    use such once popular phrases as:

    I noticed a chink in his armor. ( = I discovered a defect in his

    character or ideas.)

    (3) I assume that many of the learners are young people who may

    be doing international business. It would be a wise decision -- in my

    opinion -- to drop this word from their active vocabulary. That is,

    never ever say or write it.


    Respectfully yours,


    James

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    #6

    Re: to chink away at

    I try to be politically sensitive, but this is ridiculous.

    You can't say "chink" as in "a chink in his armor" because it could cause offense to Chinese?

    That's even worse than not being able to use the words "niggardly" -- a word related to "niggling" as in "niggling doubt" -- because it SOUNDS like a truly offensive word with which is shares absolutely no word origins.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #7

    Re: to chink away at

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post

    You can't say "chink" as in "a chink in his armor" because it could cause offense to Chinese?

    You can say it if you want to. I think TheParser was engaged in a bit of a straw-man argument.

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    #8

    Re: to chink away at

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I try to be politically sensitive, but this is ridiculous.

    You can't say "chink" as in "a chink in his armor" because it could cause offense to Chinese?

    That's even worse than not being able to use the words "niggardly" -- a word related to "niggling" as in "niggling doubt" -- because it SOUNDS like a truly offensive word with which is shares absolutely no word origins.
    I wouldn't say that to a Chinese person because it could be interpreted as an insulting play on words. Just my take.

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    #9

    Re: to chink away at

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen165 View Post
    I wouldn't say that to a Chinese person because it could be interpreted as an insulting play on words. Just my take.
    I wouldn't say that phrase to anyone. Because, who says it anyway?!

    I think it's a personal choice when it comes to situations like these. It also would depend on who I'm talking to. But that's true for many word choices, not just the potentially racist words.

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    #10

    Re: to chink away at

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I try to be politically sensitive, but this is ridiculous.

    You can't say "chink" as in "a chink in his armor" because it could cause offense to Chinese?

    That's even worse than not being able to use the words "niggardly" -- a word related to "niggling" as in "niggling doubt" -- because it SOUNDS like a truly offensive word with which is shares absolutely no word origins.
    I'm not politically correct at all, but I think it's important for those learning the language to know things that may, in some situations, be taken as offensive.

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