he feasted off them to the last shred

Discussion in 'English Only' started by sb70012, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    Source: Greek Mythology http://www.roca.org/OA/119/119k.htm 8th Paragraph

    I can not understand the blue part very well. Would you please clarify it to me?

    Thank you
  2. Edinburgher Senior Member

    German/English bilingual
    "He feasted" means he had a feast, a meal; he enjoyed eating them (the man's brains). "To the last shred" means he ate every little bit of it; there were no leftovers.
    I find the preposition "off" a little off here; I would have used "on" instead, as in the well-known limerick.

    There was a young person named Ned,
    Who dined, before going to bed,
    On lobster and ham,
    and salad and jam,
    And when he awoke, he was dead.
  3. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    Thank you so much. :)
  4. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    'Feasted on them' could mean he feasted on (= ate) the brains, or the men, as both have just been mentioned, and are edible. 'Feasted off' slightly suggests to me he feasted off the men - he ate everything on them that could be eaten, but left the bones.
  5. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    He's not just eating brains. "Dash [someone's] brains out" just means "kill by smashing in the head." In other words, "brains" is part of a phrase describing slaughter, and it's not specifically highlighting the idea of "brains" here. After killing the men, Polyphemus ate every part of them that he could - brains, legs, kidneys, you name it.

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