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top banana in the shock department

Discussion in 'English Only' started by VikNikSor, May 6, 2014.

  1. VikNikSor

    VikNikSor Senior Member

    Russian
    - I suppose you think I'm very brazen or très fou or something.
    - I don't think you're any fouer than anybody else.
    - Yes, you do. Everybody does. And I don't mind. It's useful beingtop banana in the shock department.
    Breakfast at Tiffany's, movie

    Explain to me, please, what the shock department means.
    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  2. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    "The X department" is just a casual way to refer to a quality of someone or something.

    "He is not much in the looks department" means "He is not very handsome."
    "She is top banana in the shock department" means "She is the most shocking person I know."
    "He's nice enough but nothing much going on in the brains department" means "He is pleasant but not very bright."
     
  3. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    department /dɪˈpɑːtmənt/ n
    5. informal a specialized sphere of knowledge, skill, or activity: wine-making is my wife's department
    http://www.wordreference.com/definition/department


    "in the X department"

    Examples

    The RM-Z also just edged out the Kawasaki on the dyno for top-dog in the horsepower department with a peak 35.26 hp.
    https://www.suzuki-gb.co.uk/mx/about/news/suzuki-rm-z250-voted-best-in-class/

    Vinegar and beer vie for top dog in the aroma department
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...onepage&q="top dog in the" department&f=false

    He is a far cry from being the best in the story department.
    http://www.gamespot.com/forums/system-wars-314159282/tetsuya-nomura-is-the-top-dog-in-the-gaming-indust-27495434/?page=1

    (cross-posted)
     
  4. VikNikSor

    VikNikSor Senior Member

    Russian
    Thank you, everyone.
    I should've checked it up in dictionaries.

    Biffo, I think the WRdefinition you gave is not quite fitted to the original:
    Longman dictionary
     
  5. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    Yes I understand. I was aware of that when I included it. The example phrase is different but the meaning of the word overlaps considerably.
    We could also make statements such as:

    At home my wife is boss in the wine-making department.

    In context

    "Hello John, I see that you are making home-made wine. What grapes are you using?"
    (a) "Hi Bill, I don't know much about it, I just follow instructions. My wife is boss in the wine-making department.
    (b) "Hi Bill, I don't know anything about it. Wine-making is my wife's department.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  6. VikNikSor

    VikNikSor Senior Member

    Russian
    Thank you.
     

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