Row of the Summer

Those following the "Brexit" politics in the U.K. probably have heard David Davis (U.K. Chief Negotiator) characterize the negotiations ahead as the row of the summer. I’m a continental European and can only guess what it means. Can someone explain this figure of speech? Here’s some context: From an article in The Irish Independent with … Read more

Meaning of “I shut my eyes to hold my breath”

From the folk song Oh! Susanna by Stephen Foster (presumably written in slave dialect): De bullgine bust, de hoss ran off, I really thought I’d die; I shut my eyes to hold my bref—Susanna, dont you cry. Sheet music from Duke University on Wikimedia Commons Emphasis mine. What does this phrase mean? All searches of … Read more

Usage of a commonly accepted proverb to disregard someone’s opinion

I am looking for a term (or a sentence) that would describe a figure of speech where one individual use a commonly accepted proverb (or thick concept or other) in order to disregard someone’s opinion on the matter. Example Obviously some things look better than others. If for example we consider two cities one commonly … Read more

Would ‘Storm clouds gathering’ be considered as an example of personification?

I came across this phrase in school and I became quite confused with whether it should be seen as a personification or not. It may be a collocation but does that mean it can’t be a personification? ‘Gathering’ to me usually entails the getting together of people/ animals (animate) so if it is placed next … Read more

What does “stepping over the necks of peasants” mean here?

While a Chinese friend of mine was reading the story, The Standard of Living by Dorothy Parker, she came across this sentence: Annabel and Midge passed without the condescension of hurrying their pace; they held their heads higher and set their feet with exquisite precision, as if they stepped over the necks of peasants. My … Read more

What is the term for repetition of an initial syllable in successive words?

In Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread, one character comments on the name of another Carla Carlucci: alliteration. Or something more than alliteration, but I don’t know the term for it. Alliteration is the use of the same consonant (consonantal alliteration) or of a vowel, not necessarily the same vowel (vocalic alliteration), at the … Read more