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  1. Just Joined
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    #1

    stab-shot together-indented

    " Suddenly, like a stab of forked lightning, the great cloud shot together, became small, indented, and coloured, and as a plant-animal started walking around on legs and rooting up the ground in search of food."

    Taken from a science-fiction novel, in this scene a cloud comes down from the sky, becomes smaller and starts to act like an animal. In this strange image, I do not understand
    -the word "stab" (it cannot mean wound or the like, it should be something else?)
    -the verb phrase "shot together" (what did the cloud do here? Shoot has dozens of meanings.)
    -indented (are the irregular rims trimmed? not sure.)

    Can you please help me understand these? Thank you so much in advance.

  2. Eckaslike's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: stab-shot together-indented

    Welcome to the forum, swing8082.

    The author, David Lindsay, is being quite creative in his use of English. This is my understanding of what he has written.

    "like a stab of forked lightning" - He has invented his own version of the phrase "as quick as lightning", or "like a flash".

    "shot together" - This again conjures up the image of something moving very fast "like a shot" (i.e. like the speed of a bullet). "Shot together" in this context where a large cloud becomes smaller, means "contracted very rapidly".

    "indented" - Yes, you are right. It means having irregular edges. In the case of a cloud they would look something like this I imagine: http://tinyurl.com/ngm87bq .

    Last edited by Eckaslike; 23-Aug-2015 at 12:15.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: stab-shot together-indented

    That is a good analysis, but the original text is very odd. For one, I have never seen a plant wandering around looking for food.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: stab-shot together-indented

    Plant-animals are not that unnatural in science fiction.

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    #5

    Re: stab-shot together-indented

    Welcome to the forum, swing.

    In future posts, please name the author and source of copyright material you are quoting.

  5. Skrej's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: stab-shot together-indented

    Quote Originally Posted by swing8082 View Post

    -the word "stab" (it cannot mean wound or the like, it should be something else?)

    .
    The verb 'stab' can mean to injure somebody by thrusting something into them (such as a knife), but it can also mean 'to move quickly and suddenly'.

    For example, if you stab somebody with a knife, you make a quick short thrust at them. So in this sentence, the clouds moved together as quickly as lightning stabbing towards the ground.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 24-Aug-2015 at 22:06. Reason: Fixing typo.

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