Interested in Language
Can anybody tell me what steel-yawed means in the text below?
Spring had arrived. There was a lamb or two in Central Park and a conspicuous goat or two in Greenwich
Village. Weary, steel-yawed executives were returning with last season’s wives and niblicks from Florida and
setting out with fresh ones for Europe. The rent of pent-houses had soared.
Despising, however, the vernal excitements of Manhattan, Mr Meldrum had been living morosely in
Linoleumville, S.I., in Jeannette, Pa., and in Emporia, Kan. Save for occasional week-end contacts with the
person Smith he had been leading the existence of a hermit.
John Metcalfe, Mr. Meldrum´s Mania, 1925
Not a Teacher
For some reason, I'm having troubles finding a dictionary entry to cite, but one definition of 'yaw' is a wide open gap, or as verb to be wide open.
Ergo, referring to someone's mouth as a 'yaw' is to say they have a big mouth.
To call them steel-yawed would insinuate that they have big metallic mouths for grinding up and chewing out various business deals and contracts.
You'll note the text also states that they routinely get new wives and golf equipment (as if the two were equally interchangeable as status tokens) on an annual basis.
Then of course there's the literal steel-yawed character of Jaws from the 007 film Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me.
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