at half mast

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hahnny

Senior Member
Korean - South Korea
At/on half mast

This is one confusing expression.
All "urban dictionary" definitions on this phrase are wrapped up in the "halfway to a boner" meaning. You know what to expect from UD but I heard this from a combat fighter in his interview. He said "I fought at half mast", meaning he was on antibiotics so he couldn't perform 100% from the effect of the medication on his body.

But then, I have this American friend telling me that 'half mast' is half asleep. Like 'I was at half mast watching that movie' (it was boring and my eyes were half closed)
Does this really involve a sleeping situation? so the fighter meant he was half asleep when he was fighting? I expected it to mean he could summon up only half of energy that he has.
 
  • hahnny

    Senior Member
    Korean - South Korea
    Thank you Thomas. I don't know how the meaning has gotten from 'flying at half mast' to 'sleepyhead'. Maybe a fellow American member could help.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I don't know of any colloquial use of this. That is, there is no standard and familiar use of it to mean "half (something)". But of course it could be easily used for various half-states.
     
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