carry a torch for someone

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Eric001, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. Eric001 Senior Member

    Beijing
    Chinese-Beijing
    hi,
    Some dictionary says this is an old-fashioned phrase. Do you natives still say it now? Is it proper to say it in spoken English?
     
  2. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    You still occasionally hear it but it is an old saying. I've probably used it periodically because it best describes a certain situation. I would imagine, though, that most people under 30 would have no idea what it means.
     
  3. Eric001 Senior Member

    Beijing
    Chinese-Beijing
    I see. thank you. Then, what do people under 30 say when they describe that kind of situations?
     
  4. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    As far as colloquialisms are concerned, the first thing that comes to mind is "He's still hung up on her".
     
  5. Betty Poodle New Member

    English United States
    You can use it with confidence. Everyone knows what it means and people still say it. It's not a trendy expression, it is one that has been around a long time and will stand the test of time.
     
  6. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    Hi Eric, I'd say the expression is alive-and-well in my part of the English-speaking world:)
     
  7. Eric001 Senior Member

    Beijing
    Chinese-Beijing
    Thanks a lot.
     
  8. Franzi Senior Member

    Astoria, NY
    (San Francisco) English
    It's used in the latest Dresden Files book (which came out this month and which has a significant audience under 30). I don't know how often people are using this in speech, but I'd expect everyone to be familiar with it.

    I definitely use it because its very specific meaning isn't really covered by "he's still hung up on her" or other similar expressions. I use "still hung up" for someone who can't get over their ex and "carrying the torch" if they've been in love with someone who's unavailable or who has never been interested for ages and ages.
     
  9. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    While it may be widely recognized, it is, I suspect, far less common among the younger generations in the U.S.
     

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