About "trunk" and "accounted for"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by rambopark, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. rambopark Senior Member

    South Korea
    It's about a prison drama.
    In the scene that a con's working with a shovel, a shovel was broken. So he needed a new one.

    Showing a guard the one broken, "Boss?".
    And a guard said "Sure thing. But I don't want to check your trunk for splinters. I want every piece accounted for."

    In here, I really want to know what "trunk" as a noun in here and "accounted for" mean. In Dictionary, "to account" means "to consider or reckon".
    But I don't understand that well.
  2. Beryl from Northallerton Senior Member

    British English
    Well I'm not sure about 'trunk'. Is it the prisoner's upper body? Does he have a large metallic box with him? Is it the boot of the prisoner's car, and why would a prisoner have a car?

    'I want every piece accounted for' means 'I want you to show me (be able to account for) every piece of the broken shovel'.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  3. Embonpoint Senior Member

    He means "I want to make sure you return every piece of this shovel."

    The reason is that the splinters might be used as a weapon, or to commit suicide or maybe even to escape.

    The word trunk can mean several things but I suspect in this case it is a suitcase-like item which all prisoners have to store their personal affairs. The guard doesn't want to have to search the prisoner's trunk for splinters; he wants them all accounted for in advance.

    Does that help?
  4. rambopark Senior Member

    South Korea
    Beryl, What about trunk, Embonpoint was right :> This is a prison drama and I thought in context, its meaning is the guard doesn't want to have to check the prisoner's trunk (locker-like) for splinters. :> Anyway, many thanks! :>
  5. rambopark Senior Member

    South Korea
    Embonpoint, I really understand the part of the word trunk, like you said, I think it's suitcase-like in context. But I'm really confused about "to account for". It means "to return"? Is that slang?
  6. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    I have to disagree with Embonpoint. Account for, in this context, means to explain or answer for. (No, it's not slang.) The guard wants the prisoner to be able to explain where every piece of the broken shovel is; he doesn't want to find that any pieces are missing.
  7. Embonpoint Senior Member

    Yes, this is a clearer, better explanation. "To account for" can often mean to explain or essentially to provide an accounting for. For example, if I give an unreliable teenager $20 to get me groceries I might say, "Remember, you are going to have to account for every penny." Or if I have a strict employer at work, I might be allowed to take breaks but have to account for every minute--which means if there is any unexplained time, the employee will be in trouble. Same with the shovel. I wrote he wants it all returned, which is true, but the language strictly says he has to provide an accounting for each piece--with the goal of making sure he doesn't steal any.

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