you'll be as clear as a bell

Discussion in 'English Only' started by lapot, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. lapot

    lapot Senior Member

    Hello, watching the film "Shutter Island" I've come across this. A man is getting sick, having a migraine. He isphotosensitive (this part of the movie is very bright), and then another man says:

    Photosensitivity, headaches sometimes. Marshal, are you having a migraine?...
    Take these, Marshal. Couple of hours, you'll be as clear as a bell.

    What is the meaning of 'clear' here? Is it reffered to his vision or maybe is it more related to this meaning: Discerning or perceiving easily; keen: a clear mind?
    What do you think? Thank you!!
  2. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    This idiom usually refers to hearing: I can hear you as clear as a bell. In the context you mention, it must be transferred to some other sense of 'clear' - free of a headache, I suppose - but the addition 'as a bell' no longer makes much sense.
  3. lapot

    lapot Senior Member

    Thanks entangledbank! The question is that I didn't find any other meaning in the dictionary that suits this situation.
    I think maybe it's not a sentence anyone would be likely to use in that situation, right?
  4. Alby84 Senior Member

    American English
    As I recall, that movie takes place in the 40s or 50s, and as such that idiom no longer sounds natural used in that context, even though a native speaker would still understand exactly what was meant by it.

    Nowadays, you'd most likely hear In a couple of hours, you'll feel fine.

    These days it's not uncommon to hear it as a response to a question, however.

    Boss: Is that clear? (Do you understand?)

    You: Crystal/crystal-clear/(clear) as crystal/ (clear) as a bell.

    These could be taken as sarcasm, though...

    Another idiomatic expression which fits your example is "right as rain."

    "In a couple of hours, you'll feel right as rain" <--this also sounds slightly outdated to me, but I thought I'd bring it up since it's kind of a cognate here.
  5. lapot

    lapot Senior Member

    Thank you, Alby! :)

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