a little rest "against" the lead I have taken.

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Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
The boy is asleep no doubt. I can afford to borrow a little rest against the lead I have taken.

Background: The boy is chasing me but he is far behind me. At night I lose track of him

Source:The Old Man and the Wasteland By Nick Cole

I guess the whole sentence means "I can afford to borrow a little rest because I'm far ahead of the boy", but I don't understand the usage of "against" here.
  • Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    You are right about the meaning.

    If you think of the distance I am ahead of the boy in terms of time (I am 3 hours ahead of him, for example), then I can "borrow against" that amount of time and rest for an hour or two. Borrow against is a phrasal verb that means borrow on the basis of existing credit.


    Senior Member
    English (American)
    "Against" is used in expressions about borrowing to indicate something that secures the loan or can be drawn on to repay the loan. "He borrowed $50,000 against his home" = "He borrowed $50,000, and the bank can take his home if he does not repay it." In the sentence you quote, to "borrow rest against a lead" is a metaphorical expression and means that if taking a rest were to cause him to lose ground in the chase, the lead he has already built up will compensate for it.
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