clipping away

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MaryamSeresht

Senior Member
Persian
Hi,

Here, Queenie first grips her handbag, and the throws it on her arm. Do you think clipping away means to free her grip, and setting(=wedging) it on her arm?

"Thank you, Mr Fry," she said at last, clipping away, with the handbag wedged on her arm.

Thank you.
It's part of Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
 
  • MaryamSeresht

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Queenie is with her colleague in a car.
    Queenie appeared at his car, gripping her square handbag, as if she was off on a shopping trip instead of an inspection of a pub's account books. ................................. They travelled in silence. She sat beside him, very neat, her hands tucked in a tight ball in her lap. ...................... . He leapt out to open the passenger door, and waited as her leg slowly emerged and groped for the payment. .................. . When he glanced up he was mortified to find her staring straight back at him. "Thank you, Mr Fry," she said at last, clipping away, with the handbag wedged on her arm.
    I hope this will help.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I think "clipping away' here has nothing to do with her handbag. She just walked rapidly away after came out of the car.
    In my Collins dictionary (the version that WR dictionary uses) there is a definition for 'clip':
    6) to trot or move rapidly, esp over a long distance
    (I don't know why this one is absent in WR dictionary)
     
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    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I've never heard clipping used like this. I did a quick-and-dirty Google search and all I found in the first three pages were references to clipping hair, clipping finger or toenails, clipping coupons and clipping shrubbery. Using it in reference to walking is a very unusual way to use the word, and I wouldn't have used this way. I suppose Vik's interpretation is correct, but only because I can't think of a more likely one.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    When I read it, it made me think of the sound that high heeled shoes might make on the pavement - I guess that sort of fits with the walking away definition.
    It sort of fits, but if this had been the intended meaning, I'd expect to read "clicking away." This isn't a standard meaning of clipping, at least not as far as I know. I think the author has pushed the definition of clipping quite a bit. He's a creative writer, so that's certainly his right. It doesn't work for me, but it might for other readers.
     

    The Prof

    Senior Member
    It sort of fits, but if this had been the intended meaning, I'd expect to read "clicking away."
    So would I. For that reason, I Googled "heels clipping on the pavement" before posting my answer and found a few instances of it being used in that way by seemingly literate native speakers. For example here:
    http://aliceaudley.com/2013/01/09/a-wet-january/
    And here:
    http://isobelcompulsory.com/2013/07/03/pedestrian-perspective/

    Makes me think of the noise of horse shoes on a hard surface - clip clop ... As people only have two legs, there is no clop, just the clip! :D
     
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