Interested in Language
Can anybody explain to me what the phrase "long standing" means in the context?
On the second level there was more light and more air. It was colder. There were loiterers on the second level too, but these were far from menacing. They clung to things and pressed themselves against things, and they stared with unfocused eyes at something which had been there before but was not there now. These men seemed to be wearing greasy fezzes and dark, baggy long underwear with buttons and vestigial lapels. As he approached them, Dewforth saw that the fezzes were actually felt hats with the brims atrophied or rotted away, and the funereal long-johns were the weatherbeaten remains of those suits which are designed for Young Men On The Way Up. As though by tacit agreement of long standing, these men did not look directly at Dewforth as he passed, nor he at them.
Will Mohler, In The Control Tower, 1963
Thanks a lot
In this context "long standing" has its usual meaning "of having existed or continued for a long time". http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us.../long-standing It may be the lack of a hyphen between the two words which caused you to question it.
Going back to the sentence in question:
"As though by an unspoken agreement which had existed for a long time, these men did not look directly at Dewforth as he passed, nor he at them."
Last edited by Eckaslike; 23-Aug-2015 at 17:37.
(BrE first language speaker.)