a refined palate you got there


A bartender-waiter is serving a woman and her daughter in a diner. Daughter:
- I'll have coffee also. And chili fries.
The waiter (sarcastically):
- That's quite a refined palate you got there.

(Mother and daughter know the man long enough, maybe they are friends, so it's a normal remark of him).
(Gilmore girls, tv-series)

What does "there" mean here?
  • Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    It's the conventional meaning of 'there' - a word that points to things a little further away than those that are here, eg. I'll have a slice of that cake, over there (pointing with hungry eyes).
    The expression 'That's quite an X you got there' (and its related forms '... X you got going on there', '... X you've got going on over there') means, 'My word! Your X is extraordinary.'.


    I'm not sure I understand...:)
    Do you mean "extraordinary" relates to "quite a refined" and the "there" has its main meaning -- "points to things a little further away than those that are here" ?
    So, the girl's palate is a little further away than something that is here...?:confused:

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Not quite. When someone says, 'That's quite an X you got there', they are drawing attention to something they consider remarkable. It can be issued straight, but it's often spun ironically, as is the case above.
    The waiter is saying, 'My what an extraordinarily refined palate you have', but he's being sarcastic, so he means 'My what an extraordinarily UNrefined palate you have'.

    ADDED: taken literally the 'there' means 'there', but here, 'there' is part of a unit set-ish phrase, which I've detailed in in post#2.


    Senior Member
    UK English
    It's not a reference to a physical location. It means more like "by asking for that combination" (i.e. coffee and chili fries). I would say it refers to what the daughter ordered that were spoken.
    Another example: Suppose the mother had come in alone and had said to the barman "My daughter's just won a scholarship to Harvard." The barman might reply "You've got a really bright kid there!" There doesn't mean at home or not here, but must be a reference to what the mother said about her.
    His remark would then be a compliment and would not be sarcastic.

    One could also explain it by saying it's a kind of particle, without any specific meaning. Perhaps it could be replaced by "you know".
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