a cheetah of a man

redgiant

Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
Scud Peabody was a scruffy, skinny, troll of a man whose eyes bulged from his head like mushroom bulbs at the end of their stalks, jerking from one object to the next, his mind a constantly spinning carousel of jangling, obnoxious thought. He had a baggy, hound-dog face with a stubbly mouth always hanging open.

Source: The Speaker for the Trees by DeLauder, Sean

Background: Hedge, a plant that blends in with humanity in the form of a human being, is revealing his identity with his human friend Scud Peabody, a dimwit with speech impediment.

Hi native speakers,
I'd like to know if "a cheetah of a man" could be used in the same way "troll of a man" is used in the example. Say there's a sprinter of Usain Bolt's caliber , is it okay to describe him as "He was a cheetah of a man"?
 
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hullo RG. It's fine for U. Bolt, not for S. Peabody:

    cheetah = extremely fast
    troll = extremely weird/ugly/nasty/grim/violent
     

    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Thank you very much, ewie. You are right that cheetah and troll are entirely different.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll

    A troll is usually a pretty 'humanoid' creature, so a person can physically resemble a troll, but not a cheetah. Similarly, one could say 'a giant of a man' but not usually 'an elephant of a man.' Giants and trolls are people-like creatures. Cheetahs and elephants are not.
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll

    A troll is usually a pretty 'humanoid' creature, so a person can physically resemble a troll, but not a cheetah. Similarly, one could say 'a giant of a man' but not usually 'an elephant of a man.' Giants and trolls are people-like creatures. Cheetahs and elephants are not.
    Didn't Tarzan have some primate friend named Cheetah? Might have been half-way OK 30 years ago, when people still had the characters from the Tarzan films in fresh memory.

    The first thing I think of is also a longlegged and incredibly fast cat.
     
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