a skeleton of its former self

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I am translating this into Chinese but I don't really get the meaning of "a skeleton of its former self" here. What does "former self" refer to here?


they are the oldest larches in Europe, and incredibly, these three trees are still producing fresh foliage. Gnarled yet determined, they doggedly occupy a slope below the Bannwald Forest in the Ultental Valley, near San Gertrude. One is missing its treetop, the other is split — a skeleton of its former self — but all are growing new needles.
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Here we are talking about old trees. When the writer says that one tree "is a skeleton of its former self", he means that the tree is in bad shape compared to what it used to be. We often use this expression when talking about starving, sick people or animals. If we say that "they are skeletons of their former selves", we mean that their bodies look like skeletons instead of healthy, muscular bodies.


    Senior Member
    "a skeleton of its former self "

    The larch had its different appearance in former days. It looked younger tree. It looked fresh and fertile.
    But it looks dried up now. It looks like old tree. It looks like a skeleton.
    It looks like a skeleton of the fresh and fertile appearance in former times/days when itself used to be.
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