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    #1

    Straddling ugliness of a waterworks ...

    Hello,

    Reading a book, I found a strange phrase I would like somebody to help me with. It is as follows:

    Here the backs of mean cottagase gave on to the sinuous track, and some miserable fowls scuttled before him, raising clouds of dust; father on and to the right larger buildings threatened - an isolation hospital and the straddling ugliness of a waterworks.

    Straddling? Was it situated on an arched foundation so it looked like the edifice was straddled on the ground? Some authors really makes my head go around.

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    #2

    Re: Straddling ugliness of a waterworks ...

    A waterworks a building using the water power from a river to drive a machine, so the building may often straddle the river e.g. be built on both banks and across the river.


    Straddle is often used to describe a person crossing a (low) fence by placing one leg on either side. It is also used metaphorically i.e. a politician may straddle both sides of a political debate.

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    #3

    Re: Straddling ugliness of a waterworks ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnyxxx View Post
    Some authors really makes my head go around.
    Some authors get intoxicated with the beauty of words and move from the literal to what they see in their head. I think Jawgar has given a solid explanation of how this could have a literal meaning, but if an author gets stuck into some serious description, there's a time and place sometimes for just going with the flow and enjoying it rather than trying to pin it down to exact reality. To be honest, if you hadn't asked and I had read that, I wouldn't have troubled myself too much about it and would have taken some vast arching ugliness away in my head, and wouldn't have worried too much about what it was straddling.

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