a rich tradition

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aaronsun666

Senior Member
Mandarin
The Big Bang Theory Season 06 Episode 24

Penny's boyfriend, Leonard, is going on a research on a ship on the north sea in a couple days.
Sheldon (says to Penny): Yeah, well, you’re his girlfriend for now. You know, maybe you’re not aware of this, but there is a rich tradition of men at sea finding comfort in each other’s arms and britches.

What does the rich mean?
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    The word has many different meanings, depending on context. In this case: significant. It's a meaning not listed in the WR dictionary, but it does appear in the American Heritage Dictionary.
     

    aaronsun666

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Hi Parla, do you think any of the definitions below fit the one from #1


    The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus: Informal. Extremely funny

    American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition: Highly varied, developed, or complex: rich musical harmonies; a rich cultural tradition
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    (Until Parla gets back to you)

    The "Highly varied, developed, or complex" definition would fit, but see also the WR Dictionary (Collins) definition:
    producing abundantly; fertile: rich soil

    A "rich tradition" would be a tradition of which very many valuable examples can be found, so making it a source of inspiration for anyone wanting to draw on it. e.g. Greece has a rich oral tradition of demotic songs that Greek poetry has drawn on.

    In your context it's meant to be an amusing way of describing how sailors are reputed to have recourse to homosexuality on long sea voyages.
     
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