a boast that the administration says it has to take at face value

< Previous | Next >

Wookie

Senior Member
Korea, Korean
The North claims to have converted all those rods into bomb-grade plutonium, a boast that the administration says it has to take at face value.(source)

What does the phrase underlined mean?
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Have you checked out the meaning of "face value", Wookie? At Dictionary.com, it means:

    1.the value printed on the face of a stock, bond, or other financial instrument or document. 2.apparent value: Do not accept promises at face value.

    Accordingly, if you take something at "face value", you must believe it.

    In your sentence, this means that the administration must believe North Korea's boast that they have converted the rods into bomb-grade plutonium.
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    The North claims to have converted all those rods into bomb-grade plutonium, a boast that the administration says it has to take at face value.(source)
    Accordingly, if you take something at "face value", you must believe it.

    In your sentence, this means that the administration must believe North Korea's boast that they have converted the rods into bomb-grade plutonium.
    I must disagree slightly with Dimcl's conclusion. One may have serious misgivings and doubts about something that one "has to take at face value." In this context, the phrase means that the administration cannot prove that the boast is false and cannot risk ignoring the boast; therefore, it is forced to appear to accept the apparent truth of the claim (at least for the moment) despite probable doubts and suspicions.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I must disagree slightly with Dimcl's conclusion. One may have serious misgivings and doubts about something that one "has to take at face value." In this context, the phrase means that the administration cannot prove that the boast is false and cannot risk ignoring the boast; therefore, it is forced to appear to accept the apparent truth of the claim (at least for the moment) despite probable doubts and suspicions.
    Good catch, Joelline. I actually meant what you're referring to when I said that you "must" believe it. "Must" to me in my post means that you have no choice, not that you "must believe it because you know it to be true".:)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top