a hip deep swamp

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Nucleara

Senior Member
The flies were almost unbearable. A small squad of men shuffled restlessly in the hip deep swamp. They swiped at the pests, trying to remain as quiet as possible.

I'm not sure what a hip deep swamp means. I've looked up in the dictionary but still not sure. What does it mean? --both "hip" and "swamp", in this context.

Thank you
 
  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I wouldn't use hip-level deep.
    The normal adjective with this structure is waist-deep (usually after the noun, i.e. a swamp waist deep).
    If you want to write level, I suggest in the swamp, which came up to the level of their hips.
     

    Nucleara

    Senior Member
    I wouldn't use hip-level deep.
    The normal adjective with this structure is waist-deep (usually after the noun, i.e. a swamp waist deep).
    If you want to write level, I suggest in the swamp, which came up to the level of their hips.
    With or without the hyphen is the same? hip deep/ hip-deep / waist-deep/waist deep ?
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    It should have been hyphenated in the sentence you quoted, Nucleara. Hip is normally a noun; when two words are combined to make an adjective, we call that a compound adjective, and when it comes before the thing it's describing, it's hyphenated. So it's as E2efour wrote: It was a hip-deep swamp. The swamp was hip deep. Either sentence means that if you were wading through that swamp, you'd be wet up to the level of your hips.
     
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