clipping her words

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Senior Member
India-Local dialect
This is a frame from story in a novel. (No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay)

The husband was trying to comfort his wife who was panicking about her daughter's safety, since a stranger said something frightening to her. She told her husband once before what that stranger said. The husband told her to repeat it once more. " I told you", she said, clipping her words.

What does 'clipping her words' mean?
  • tepatria

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    She was annoyed that he asked her to repeat what she said and when she answered her words were pronounced in a short, terse way, as though she clipped off the words with scissors. This is not an easy expression to define, bur usually this means the speaker is annoyed or tense.


    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    Another way of putting it is that she was "abrupt" - that is, she did not elaborate but spoke imperatively to make her husband recall what she told him.


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Some people speak with a relaxed cadence--in normal conversation I think most people do.

    But under stress the cadence becomes shortened and picks up a sense of staccato. That is what I understand "clipped" to mean.
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