a bit of spit & licks of the brush

Hudson

Senior Member
Japanese
What does "a bit of spit" & "licks of the brush" mean exactly in the sentence below:

"Defeated, I bent my head and allowed her to groom me with quick, fastidious little licks of the brush, a bit of spit wetting down the hairs." (The Foreigner, Francie Lin)

I thought it was the rainwater that wet down the hair, but does that mean the mother actually licked the brush.... ?
 
  • cablino

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    You may need to provide a little more context.

    Little licks of the brush
    This is describing the bristles of the brush moving over the object "licking" or a different word for "touching". It is simply a stylistic choice of the author to be more descriptive. You wont find such usage in colloquial English.

    A bit of spit
    This is literally describing the woman using spit to have wet the hair. I am assuming the spit is from the woman herself. However, if you provide more context it would be easier to tell where this "spit" came from, a fountain, rain, bottle of water....
     

    Hudson

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    It had been raining pretty hard earlier, but here it doesn't indicate it's still raining...
    They are in the concourse of a shopping mall in San Francisco, when this occurs.
     
    Last edited:

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    A mother would lick her hand, run it over the cowlick, and then brush the hair down. No mother has ever licked a brush sober.

    A "lick" of the brush would be a small use of the brush. A lick of the brush and a lick of the lips are two different things.
     

    Hudson

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    A mother would lick her hand, run it over the cowlick, and then brush the hair down. No mother has ever licked a brush sober.

    A "lick" of the brush would be a small use of the brush. A lick of the brush and a lick of the lips are two different things.

    Yes, if I think about it, of course as you said no mother would lick a brush.....
    Thank you.
     
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