Alexander Kabanov
Please help me to understand the phrase Hi All, I am reading the 'Black cat' novel authored by Poe and a bit confused with the following sentence: In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise. Does that mean that his wife was not affected by superstition at all?
Nov 6, 2018 4:36 AM
Answers · 7
1 'tinctured with superstition' = superstitious 2 'a little tinctured with superstition' = slightly superstitious 3 'not a little tinctured with superstition' = superstitious, but not slightly 'Not a little' could mean anything between 'averagely superstitious' and 'she is a witch', depending on how ironically you read it.
November 6, 2018
To be tinctured means to be imbued with something. It is an older word that isn't used at all now. It means here that she otherwise wasn't superstitious. The nature of the writing of "black cat“ is not straightforward - I think you will find many people who are native English speakers to struggle to understand it.
November 6, 2018
Thank you, Jennifer! I'm glad that I asked this question as my first idea was that 'not a little' meant 'not at all' in this context. Always good to know something new :)
November 6, 2018
I agree this is confusing. I am going to aay that it means his wife is superstitious. "Not a little" in this case means "substantially".
November 6, 2018
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Alexander Kabanov
Language Skills
English, Russian
Learning Language
English