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Thread: Homeliness

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    #1

    Homeliness

    Hello,

    Can anybody tell me what homeliness and angular awkwardness mean in the text below?


    She laughed at that. “Oh, I don’t do any of the sheriffing. I take Dan’s notes for him and type them, but he does all the hard work.”
    This was a clever woman. For all the pleasant homeliness of that long face of hers and the angular awkwardness of the way she sat in her chair, I was conscious of her shrewdness and mentally decided that it would be well to be cautious about what we said to her.
    She took another pull on her cigarette and remarked, “I hope you’re not offended by my knowing who you are.”
    “Not at all,” I told her. “Flattered. But there does seem to have been a good deal of talk about Julian and the rest of us in the village.”

    Edge of Running Water, William Sloane, 1939.


    Thanks.
    Not a Teacher. A guy who is fond of old horror and weird literature and who is interested in English language.

  2. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Homeliness

    Her face was homely.

    The way she sat was angular in an awkward way.

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    #3

    Re: Homeliness

    Yes, but the word homely has a lot of meanings. How should I tell which one is correct? Logically, I would say homely refers to friendliness, kindliness in the context but the fact is this is the British meaning. The story takes place in Maine and the US meaning of the word homely is ugly, unattractive ... So sometimes it is really hard to tell which meaning is the right one.

    Thank you very much for helping me.
    Not a Teacher. A guy who is fond of old horror and weird literature and who is interested in English language.

  4. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Homeliness

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnyxxx View Post
    the US meaning of the word homely is ugly, unattractive ...
    Really?! I had no idea that was the case.

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    #5

    Re: Homeliness

    It's an American novel, so homely means "unattractive".
    I am not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: Homeliness

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    It's an American novel, so homely means "unattractive".
    Well, you learn something something new every year. Thanks!

  7. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Homeliness

    So "For all her pleasant homeliness" suggests she was "pleasantly ugly". Is that right? It sounds very odd to me.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #8

    Re: Homeliness

    I wonder how homely came to have that sense for Americans.

    Does anyone think it comes from the idea that a typical American housewife of a bygone age was considered, um, not especially beautiful? It's just for women, right?

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    #9

    Re: Homeliness

    It's certainly kinder to call a woman or her face homely rather than ugly/unattractive.

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    #10

    Re: Homeliness

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    It's certainly kinder to call a woman or her face homely rather than ugly/unattractive.
    To her face, yes, but this is a novel. I don't think the author is trying to be kind.

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