an _ish motion (an "-ish" motion)

gvergara

Senior Member
Español
Hi:

Could you please indicate me what this means? I can't figure out its meaning from the context

Dulcie wobbles her hand in an _ish motion.
From "Going bovine" by Libba Bray

Thanks in advance,

G.
 
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  • gvergara

    Senior Member
    Español
    I find it impossible to understand. More context might help, though.
    I didn't add any context because I didn't think it would help much towards understanding the sentence. I may have been wrong, though. Here it goes

    [A boy is talking to Dulcie, an angel that shows up from time to time. They're standing before a tree which has scraps of papers as leaves]
    << -- excessive quotation deleted -- >>
    "A wishing tree," I repeat.
    "It grants wishes," she says, like I should know this.
    "So,what? People write out their hopes and dreams and place them on the tree and the tree says. 'Poof! There you go. A big steaming plate of All Yours. Enjoy!'"
    Dulcie wobbles her hand in an _ish motion. "Sort of."

    From "Going bovine" by Libba Bray

    Thanks again,

    G.


    <<< ----------- See Rule#4 ----------- >>>
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    She waggles her hand with the palm remaining pointed downward, but the left and right sides alternately go up and down. I have no idea how culturally specific this is, or whether you'll understand my description, but it's a gesture indicating "sort of", "something a bit like that but not quite". It has no recognized name that I know of, but an '_ish motion' seems a good description: just as she might say 'ish' (taken from pairs like pink/pinkish) to mean the same thing: "sort of".
     

    gvergara

    Senior Member
    Español
    So _ish keeps its original meaning of approximately. I perfectly understand your description, but I'd still like to know if every native speaker would understand that expression. Thanks, entangledbank,

    G.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I found the original text on line and your transcription was confusing because it wasn't quite right. Unfortunately, the underscore "_" you used is usually employed where the reader is to understand that a word or letter has been omitted. The actual text has a hyphen "-ish" which means that the letters "ish" are being used as a suffix. Thus the gesture has the meaning of "-ish" (i.e., meaning sort of).


    <<This is a great example of why the forum requires context and why it needs to be accurate.>>
     
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