carry a torch for someone

Eric001

Senior Member
Chinese-Beijing
hi,
Some dictionary says this is an old-fashioned phrase. Do you natives still say it now? Is it proper to say it in spoken English?
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    hi,
    Some dictionary dictionaries says say this is an old-fashioned phrase. Do you natives still say it now? Is it proper to say it in spoken English?
    You still occasionally hear it but it is an old saying. I've probably used it periodically because it best describes a certain situation. I would imagine, though, that most people under 30 would have no idea what it means.
     

    Betty Poodle

    New Member
    English United States
    You can use it with confidence. Everyone knows what it means and people still say it. It's not a trendy expression, it is one that has been around a long time and will stand the test of time.
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    You still occasionally hear it but it is an old saying. I've probably used it periodically because it best describes a certain situation. I would imagine, though, that most people under 30 would have no idea what it means.
    It's used in the latest Dresden Files book (which came out this month and which has a significant audience under 30). I don't know how often people are using this in speech, but I'd expect everyone to be familiar with it.

    I definitely use it because its very specific meaning isn't really covered by "he's still hung up on her" or other similar expressions. I use "still hung up" for someone who can't get over their ex and "carrying the torch" if they've been in love with someone who's unavailable or who has never been interested for ages and ages.
     
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