fragile looking waist

Discussion in 'English Only' started by JBPARK, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. JBPARK Senior Member

    She had a fragile-looking waist.

    Hi, everyone.

    Does it sound native-like or idiomatic to use the expression "fragile-looking" to describe a person's waist that's so shockingly thin that it looks as if it's going to snap at time soon?

    Thanks for your time.
     
  2. morzh

    morzh Senior Member

    USA
    Russian
    I never actually read anything like that before. (not saying it is not possible).

    "A fragile-looking person", due to the body built, or to the genarally unhealthy look, is possible.

    - She looks very fragile - this actually may mean "she looks like she is not in a very good health at all".
     
  3. Franstralia New Member

    Australia
    English - Australian
    Yes that phrase makes perfect sense. You could also say 'she has a very delicate waist' which in my opinion is better English.
     
  4. morzh

    morzh Senior Member

    USA
    Russian
    That I saw before. (not the waist, I mean - the wording :))
     
  5. JBPARK Senior Member

    Thanks for your expertise.

    Would it still sound natural if I placed another adjective, say "thin", right in front of it,
    as in "She had a thin, fragile-looking waist?
     
  6. morzh

    morzh Senior Member

    USA
    Russian
    You can even use "waspish" if you like :)
     
  7. modulus Senior Member

    ইংরেজি - আমেরিক
    In that case, I'd drop""looking", because it is thin and fragile. If it is deceptively fragile, and that is made clear later, then "looking" should be left in. I would not use waspish, unless a negative connotation is intended.
     
  8. JBPARK Senior Member


    Since I don't know the full extent of the meaning of "waspish", I have to wonder whether the word, especially when describing a body part, carries the connotation that the body part being described is "thin" in a "fragile" and "delicate" way. If that's the case, I would think about using it. But if the word carries a rather different nuance by virtue of the characteristics of the insect, the fierce and annoyed "wasps", somehow rubbing off on the meaning of "waspish", then it would go directly against my intention.
     
  9. JBPARK Senior Member

    Could you tell me what the negative connotation is?
     
  10. modulus Senior Member

    ইংরেজি - আমেরিক
    Comparing a woman to a wasp.
     
  11. morzh

    morzh Senior Member

    USA
    Russian
    Actually, have to disagree on the negative connotation - "waspish" waist does not compare the woman to a wasp, only describing her waist as very thin.
    Actually sometimes it is used as a compliment when describing a woman's figure.

    You can do a search on "waspish waist" - I found news headlines with no negativism.
     
  12. morzh

    morzh Senior Member

    USA
    Russian
  13. pwmeek

    pwmeek Senior Member

    SE Michigan, USA
    English - American
    Wasp-waisted is a common English descriptive phrase, but only carries the meaning of "very thin" and not the connotation of fragility. For some reason, it also does not carry the negative connotation that waspish would carry, probably because waspish is almost always used to mean "aggressively unpleasant and abrasive".
     

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