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    • Join Date: Sep 2007
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    demi-state = semi-official

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to tell me whether I am on the right way with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following brief excerpt from the O.Henry’s “A Cosmopolite in a Caffe”?

    I invoke your consideration of the scene--the marble-topped tables, the range of leather-upholstered wall seats, the gay company, the ladies dressed in demi-state toilets, speaking in an exquisite visible chorus of taste, economy, opulence or art; the sedulous and largess-loving ~garcons~, the music wisely catering to all with its
    raids upon the composers; the ~melange~ of talk and laughter--and, if you will, the Wurzburger in the tall glass cones that bend to your lips as a ripe cherry sways on its branch to the beak of a robber jay. I was told by a sculptor from Mauch Chunk that the scene was truly Parisian.

    I know the meaning of the expressions “demi-monde” and “demi-rep”. I know also the meaning of the term “demigod”. It is known that “state = official”.

    As a result of that which stated above I jump at conclusion that “demi-state = semi-official”.

    Thank you for your efforts.



    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434

    Re: demi-state = semi-official

    demi-state = semi-formal.

    A woman of that period dressed in a fully formal costume would look very overdressed for daytime >>

    The two women in the front of this drawing are in semi-formal clothes:

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