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lena ^^
what does 'Humpty Dumpty' mean? and it is common to use? thx
Oct 27, 2017 12:20 PM
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Answers · 4
Humpty Dumpty is an egg-shaped character. There is a nursery rhyme named after it. "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; All the king's horses and all the king's men Couldn't put Humpty together again." It is not a word that is used on day to day basis.
October 27, 2017
It is not a word, it is a name, and it has two major uses. "Humpty-Dumpty" the name of a character in a nursery rhyme, quoted by Nourhan above. It is used in a situation where something is so hopeless broken that there is no chance at all of putting it back together. A typical example of use is in a news story, in which a senator is worried about the President withdrawing the United States from the NAFTA trade agreement. The senator said that to do so would send "shock waves all throughout agriculture. And then to restitch that and put it all back together it’s like Humpty Dumpty. You push Mr. Humpty Dumpty trade off the wall and it’s very hard to put him back together." The book title, "All the President's Men," references the poem. The situation during Watergate had blown up to the point where all the President's men couldn't put it back together again. The second example comes from Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking-Glass," in which a number of nursery-rhyme characters appear, expanded and elaborated on. The famous passage is this exchange between Alice and Humpty Dumpty:" ‘I don’t know what you mean by “glory,”’ Alice said. Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. ‘Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”’ ‘But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument,”’ Alice objected. ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’ ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master—that’s all.’ So, "Humpty Dumpty" is sometimes used to describe situations, as in debates or in logical arguments, in which a person appears to be using words with special personal meanings that are different from what is normally understood. Someone might say "I don't understand your Humpty-Dumpty semantics here."
October 28, 2017
Humpty Dumpty was originally a spoken riddle. From the verses, you were supposed to guess that the riddle was talking about an egg. Over time, drawings of Humpty Dumpty appeared in books - as the drawings were always of an egg (with a face), everyone knows the answer to the riddle (in fact, many people don't know it is a riddle at all). While it isn't a common word/phrase, it is a common reference. Most English speakers are familiar with Humpty Dumpty and the rhyme, so mentions or pictures of him will show up in advertisements or art or stories or speeches. There is also a children's book ("Through the Looking Glass") where Humpty Dumpty is a character who has interesting theories on how language should be spoken or used. Many people are familiar with that story and will use that particular version of Humpty Dumpty as a reference. (but it is less familiar than just the plain rhyme)
October 28, 2017
Humpty Dumpty is also a character in "Through the Looking Glass" a very famous book where he "uses words to mean what he wants them to mean" and to do this he pays the, this aspect of Humpty Dumpty is used a bit in some circles.
October 27, 2017
lena ^^
Language Skills
Arabic (Egyptian), Arabic (Gulf), Arabic (Maghrebi), English, Persian (Farsi)
Learning Language
English