a neat fork

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Stray Lamb

Senior Member
Portuguese
Hi! What does "neat" mean in this sentence: "Manson trimmed his beard to a neat fork and completely shaved his head"?

Source: "Helter Skelter", by Vincent Bugliosi.
 
  • Stray Lamb

    Senior Member
    Portuguese
    Because, in my language, Portuguese, if I translate "Manson trimmed his beard to a neat fork and completely shaved his head" to my language literally, will look like this (in your language, once is not allowed to include the Portuguese sentence here): "Manson trimmed his beard in the shape of a cool fork and completely shaved his head". As far as the barber profession is concerned, what does "cool fork" mean to you?
     
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    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    Neat = 'orderly' or 'tidy' in this sentence. Better to use a dictionary rather than translating software.
     

    Stray Lamb

    Senior Member
    Portuguese
    Hi again, Roxxxannne :) I use a dictionary, of course. But some meanings do not, let's say, "fit".
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    Sorry, I was confused by what you said in your previous post. I didn't understand how 'neat' translated into Portuguese and back into English would become 'cool' unless you were using translation software. Does 'a tidy fork' make sense?
     

    Stray Lamb

    Senior Member
    Portuguese
    I wanted to insert the word translated to my language in the previous post, but is not allowed. Of course "cool" isn't the only meaning recommended by the dictionary. It is one of the meanings that "fits" in this context (that "fits" in my language, of course).
     
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    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I wanted to insert the word translated to my language in the previous post, but is not allowed. Of course "cool" isn't the only meaning recommended by the dictionary. It is one of the meanings that "fits" in this context.
    The normal meaning of "cool" (low temperature) does not fit the sentence. The slang meaning of "cool" (hip, trendy) seems a little casual for the tone of the passage.
     

    Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    Unknown.jpeg


    This man has a neat forked beard and a bald head.

    The beard is tidy/well-groomed.

    This beard is a bit exaggerated, but it fits the description.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Bugliosi is describing Manson at the time of his trial. He had a neatly trimmed beard at that time. After the trial (and perhaps before) he had a long and unkempt beard.

    I found this image of Manson that was purportedly taken during the trial, it shows a "forked" beard. However I could not find an image with a shaved head and the forked beard. Later on Manson's beard grew quite long.

    Bugliosi was the prosecutor in the Manson trial.

     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    In either case, the beard is neat or tidy, rather than hip, trendy, cool, etc.
     
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