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    #1

    Does "peeled off" mean "(been) very frightened"?

    Context:

    Then he looked at me with a deep scowl. I immediately knew why the central bank folks, who were in attendance every moment up until then, had peeled off.

  1. SlickVic9000's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Does "peeled off" mean "(been) very frightened"?

    (Not a Teacher)

    "Peeled off" here is just a fancy way of saying that the onlookers left discreetly.

  2. Tullia's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Does "peeled off" mean "(been) very frightened"?

    Quote Originally Posted by SlickVic9000 View Post
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    "Peeled off" here is just a fancy way of saying that the onlookers left discreetly.

    I'm not sure that "discreetly" is implied by this phrasal verb. It certainly means to leave, and usually implies leaving with a change of direction - one wouldn't "peel off straight out the door" for example, but one might "peel off the motorway onto a side road".

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    #4

    Re: Does "peeled off" mean "(been) very frightened"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tullia View Post
    I'm not sure that "discreetly" is implied by this phrasal verb. It certainly means to leave, and usually implies leaving with a change of direction - one wouldn't "peel off straight out the door" for example, but one might "peel off the motorway onto a side road".
    I think it's like the crowd is an onion and the outside layers just peel off from the crowd and disappear. I don't think any change in direction is implied. Just separation from the crowd.

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    #5

    Re: Does "peeled off" mean "(been) very frightened"?

    Thank you

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    #6

    Re: Does "peeled off" mean "(been) very frightened"?

    Maybe it's a BrE thing, but it suggests a change of direction normally to me to.

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    #7

    Re: Does "peeled off" mean "(been) very frightened"?

    Imagine peeling a banana: the skin follows the 'route' of the banana until it's peeled. In my experience, people peel off from a more or less straight line; in Rugby Union, for example, when the ball goes off the side of the field (with certain irrelevant provisoes), play restarts with a set piece called a 'line-out'. a number of players from each side line up next to each other and one player throws the ball over their heads. There are various strategies for benefitting from this, but in one of them players 'peel off' [how a benefit can accrue from this is - again - irrelevant].

    In your case, the line wasn't stationary. It was presumably a march or demonstration of some kind, and people who peeled off stopped following the general direction of the march. (They may have been frightened, but the peeling off just refers to the change of direction.)

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 08-Mar-2012 at 13:37. Reason: Added last sentence

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