Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Netherlands

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 1,458
    #1

    to positively supine lengths

    Gould carried the art of bending over backwards to positively supine lengths in one of his less admired books, Rocks of Ages.
    What exactly does supine mean here?

    su‧pine / ˈsuːpaɪn, ˈsjuː- $ suːˈpaɪn / adjective formal

    1 lying on your back OPP prone : in a supine position

    2 allowing other people to make decisions instead of you, in a way that seems very weak : a supine and cowardly press
    Only definition 2 makes some seems to apply to the sentence I qouted above. Is this what supine means here?

    Thanks.




  2. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #2

    Re: to positively supine lengths

    If you bend over backwards to so something, you try extremely hard to do it.

    Dawkins is suggesting here that Gould has bent so far over backwards that he has ended up supine, lying on his back, i.e. he has gone to such ridiculous lengths to be reasonable that he has ended up looking foolish.

  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Ireland

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 25,626
    #3

    Re: to positively supine lengths

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    What exactly does supine mean here?



    Only definition 2 makes some seems to apply to the sentence I qouted above. Is this what supine means here?

    Thanks.



    Definition #1 is the one. He bent over backwards so far that he was lying on his back on the floor. (figuratively of course)

  4. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #4

    Re: to positively supine lengths

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Definition #1 is the one. He bent over backwards so far that he was lying on his back on the floor. (figuratively of course)
    : It's the one, but it's woefully wrong. I wonder where it comes from - supine is the exact opposite of prone. I'm not surprised that CS found Dawkins hard to understand, if a dictionary is so inaccurate!

    b

    PS My mistake - hasty misreading
    Last edited by BobK; 04-Jul-2011 at 14:16. Reason: PS Added

  5. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #5

    Re: to positively supine lengths

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    : It's the one, but it's woefully wrong. I wonder where it comes from - supine is the exact opposite of prone. I'm not surprised that CS found Dawkins hard to understand, if a dictionary is so inaccurate!
    It seems to me that the dictionary was correct -"lying on your back OPP prone : in a supine position ," if we take it that OPP prone means - "the opposite of supine' is prone"

  6. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #6

    Re: to positively supine lengths

    In my defence, I think it was unnecessarily and unhelpfully gnomic:
    1 lying on your back OPP prone : in a supine position
    The reader is expected to read the bolded part as not part of the example, or else to read it as a very cryptic abbreviation: lying on your back [in a position of which the opposite is] prone[:[is the same as lying] in a supine position.

    Harmless drudge
    Last edited by BobK; 04-Jul-2011 at 15:08. Reason: Fix typo

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-Jan-2011, 10:47
  2. go to some lengths?
    By sky753 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 13-Feb-2010, 04:19
  3. the lengths some will go to find it
    By frindle in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-Feb-2010, 10:31

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •