a neck-wringingly horrible creature

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ironman2012

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

One morning, before dawn, our cat woke us up with his meowing. I can’t describe what a neck-wringingly horrible creature he is in these moments. It’s not hunger meowing, Amy and I have learned. He meows out of righteousness; he’s due this food and he will get it, whether he needs it or not.

(This article ("I.O.U., and U., and U" by Colin, Chris) is said to come from The New York Times, but what I can access is a Chinese website.)

If you wring a bird's neck, you twist it in order to kill the bird, but I don't understand "neck-wringingly". Does it mean "extremely horrible"?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    It means they would like to wring his neck when he behaves like that.:) Of course they wouldn't: we all get annoyed with our cats but basically we love them and put up with their habits (which include waking you up in the middle of the night for food or cuddles, or because they want to go out).
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's not a "real" word.The author invented it for this use.

    He calls the cat a horrible creature...so horrible that sometimes they want to ring its neck. He creates the adjective "neck-wringing" and and then turns it into the adverb "neck-wringingly" to modify the adjective "horrible".

    The cat is so horrible that it makes you want to wring its neck.

    It's actually a very awkward word and makes the sentence hard to read so don't be surprised if it sounds strange.
     

    ironman2012

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Is this a word coinage? Is it OK if I coin "a money-givingly kind person" to mean "a personso kind that I want to give him my house"?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I'm afraid "a money-givingly kind person" doesn't work but it was a good try.
    Quite. If it were to mean anything, it would mean that he is so kind that he gives money to everyone, not that he would make everyone want to give money to him.
    So it's not a parallel to the horrible cat. It's always the context that gives us hints on what the meaning is likely to be.
     
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