rippling bull

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What is the meaning of the phrase "rippling bull"?
Thank you very much.
 

emsr2d2

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What is the meaning of the phrase "rippling bull"?
Thank you very much.

Can you give us some context? Please post the whole sentence where you found this phrase. I have never heard it.
 
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Can you give us some context? Please post the whole sentence where you found this phrase. I have never heard it.
Yes, I can.
The main problem, though, is that Spain's displays of extreme technical ability are cheapened. It is hard to trust entirely their moments of excellence. The Dutch team of the 1970s was challenged by, and forced to navigate, the overriding physicality of the times. Pelé was first and foremost a great ***rippling bull*** of a man, both the most skilful and the most brutally treated player on the field.
 

emsr2d2

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Yes, I can.
The main problem, though, is that Spain's displays of extreme technical ability are cheapened. It is hard to trust entirely their moments of excellence. The Dutch team of the 1970s was challenged by, and forced to navigate, the overriding physicality of the times. Pelé was first and foremost a great ***rippling bull*** of a man, both the most skilful and the most brutally treated player on the field.

Ah, I see!! Well, if you describe someone as a "bull of a man" then it would suggest he was very stocky, muscular, well-built - basically, a big, solid guy. I would say that "rippling" is used with regard to muscles. We say "rippling muscles" to describe someone very muscular, whose muscles are very obvious. So I guess a "rippling bull of a man" equates him to a bull in a bullring, someone with real presence, a clearly strong, solid guy!
 

euncu

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Pelé was first and foremost a great ***rippling bull*** of a man, both the most skilful and the most brutally treated player on the field.

Ah, I see!! Well, if you describe someone as a "bull of a man" then it would suggest he was very stocky, muscular, well-built - basically, a big, solid guy. I would say that "rippling" is used with regard to muscles. We say "rippling muscles" to describe someone very muscular, whose muscles are very obvious. So I guess a "rippling bull of a man" equates him to a bull in a bullring, someone with real presence, a clearly strong, solid guy!


Shouldn't both the bolded words and your explanation suggest that it actually has to be the other way round? He was, eather treated brutally by some "rippling bull of a man" type of guys because he was very hard to stop or he treated the other players brutally because he was a rippling bull of a man.

In today's football world, the most prominents players are under the aegis of the referees, because FIFA wants it to be this way to maintain the charm of football, and the charm is created by the star players. But back in the days when Pele was a star, I don't think that there was such a notion like protecting the stars, so, I believe that the one who having treated brutally wasn't Pele, the other opponent players were the ones who were brutal because they were thinking that if the hadn't treated brutally they wouldn't have found a way to stop him.

I am aware that having strength doesn't necessarily mean being brutal,
but the bolded part breaks the smoothness of reading, so we should either replace treated with treating or we should remove that part. The latter is what I think to be the proper way.

I'd like to hear other members' opinions on this.
 
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BobK

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Etymological digression: this reminds me of the derivation of the word 'muscle'. The Latin for a little mouse was musculus, and the picture of a rippling muscle was reminiscent of a mouse moving under a carpet or rug.

Carry on, please. ;-)

b
 

BobK

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PS
Shouldn't both the bolded words and your explanation suggest that it actually has to be the other way round?
...
No. ;-) What you say is true, but what the text says is that Pele was 'a bull of a man', which he was. There's a - probably deliberate - irony in the whole sentence between 'bull' (Pele) and 'brutal' (the treatment he got at the hands [and feet] of less graceful defenders - who tended to lash out in temper at being made to look foolish, as well as simply aiming to stop him 'by fair means or foul'*). The meaning 'animal-like' lurks in the depths of the word 'brutal' - it's nearer the surface in the similar word 'brutish'.

b

PPS * In that phrase 'foul' is an adjective; it means 'by fair means or foul means', rather than 'by fair means or by committing a foul' (although that meaning suggests itself in the context. 'By fair means or foul' is a collocation that is widely used - not just in sport.
 
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