Discussion Forum

Please consider registering
guest

Log In Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —

  

— Match —

   

— Forum Options —

   

Minimum search word length is 4 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

Topic RSS
Underbelly
Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
2013/01/01
2:47am
Raffee
Iran
Member
Forum Posts: 238
Member Since:
2012/06/03
Offline
1
0

Which definition do you accept for the word?

1. A weak point of a country, society, etc.

2. Things that unpleasant about a place, country, etc. that are kept hidden

The first one is actually included in the second, but the problem is that it’s INCLUDED in it; they are not the same, yet I’ve seen both.

2013/01/01
11:57am
Robert
Member
Forum Posts: 393
Member Since:
2011/10/03
Offline

The metaphor for seaminess is outright unjust- classical arts can not have enough of the underbelly, not to mention where babies come from. 

The 2 senses are quite distinct, weakness and seaminess, though can be connected.

2013/01/03
4:10am
Raffee
Iran
Member
Forum Posts: 238
Member Since:
2012/06/03
Offline
3
0

Come to that, Happy New Year! :)

2013/01/04
10:23am
Glenn
Admin
Forum Posts: 1600
Member Since:
2009/03/03
Offline
4
0

This is my gut reaction. I did do a gut check, looking it up in dictionaries, but it is always a bit suspect when my visceral notions are confirmed by research.

When underbelly is used literally, (e.g. of an animal) it means a weak spot, or simply refers to that area of the anatomy. If it is used figuratively (e.g. of a people, a locale, a society, a corporation), it means something dirty and/or hidden.

I’m not sure why there would be this change in connotation when used figuratively. But underbelly used figuratively has strong pejorative tones. When under is not literal, it often conveys a negative nuance. perhaps the under- influences the figurative meaning.

If I want to use an anatomical metaphor for a weak spot, I would use Achilles’ heel.

2013/01/08
6:27am
Glenn
Admin
Forum Posts: 1600
Member Since:
2009/03/03
Offline
5
0

Last night on the season 3 premier of Downton Abbey, I heard the use of underbelly in a figurative sense clearly with the primary meaning of a weak spot. It lacked the connotation of something sordid. In this case, the use is in reference to the Grantham family.

“She’s like a homing pigeon,” bemoans Countess Grantham. “She finds our underbelly every time.”

Is that because it is British English? Because it is period language? Or because I am flat wrong?

2013/01/08
11:27am
Admin
Forum Posts: 635
Member Since:
2007/08/23
Offline
6
0

Glenn said

Last night on the season 3 premier of Downton Abbey, I heard the use of underbelly in a figurative sense clearly with the primary meaning of a weak spot. It lacked the connotation of something sordid. In this case, the use is in reference to the Grantham family.

“She’s like a homing pigeon,” bemoans Countess Grantham. “She finds our underbelly every time.”

Is that because it is British English? Because it is period language? Or because I am flat wrong?

I heard it Sunday night also, but did not think to post. Honestly, I always thought of it in Lady Grantham’s terms. I never noticed the sordid connotation until this thread.

BTW, I am from SW Missouri.

Emmett

2013/01/08
11:46am
Robert
Member
Forum Posts: 393
Member Since:
2011/10/03
Offline

If it’s a weak spot, does the pigeon aim to attack or to protect? -if pigeons are ever known for such acts.

It might be just a soft spot that the pigeon comes home to, and maybe takes advantage of a little. Except homing pigeon is associated with keen navigation, going out or in, the kind of destination irrelevant.

A nice piece of confused murky writing, by no less than Julian Fellowes. 

Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles

Most Users Ever Online: 1147

Currently Online:
10 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

Heimhenge: 775

Bob Bridges: 676

Ron Draney: 627

RobertB: 427

Robert: 393

tromboniator: 382

Dick: 377

samaphore: 319

dilettante: 287

Raffee: 238

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 608

Members: 2996

Moderators: 1

Admins: 5

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 1

Topics: 3139

Posts: 16515

Newest Members: Sam Iam, SnoringSnotty, Webbie39, kathy_b, isolda_m, michaelyaziji, bug free, Rach5150, SnoringNotes, reliability bathtub

Administrators: Martha Barnette: 828, Grant Barrett: 1425, EmmettRedd: 635, Glenn: 1600, timfelten: 0