death-choked form of vinegar

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kinnetik

Member
Polish - Poland
Hello,

in Kiersten White's "The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein" I found a confusing phrase. Elizabeth got inside Victor Frankenstein's laboratory and found all glass containers smashed into pieces. It smelled badly inside.

"Most of the larger glass pieces were sticky and wet with whatever had been held inside. It smelled to me like some death-choked form of vinegar. Chemicals that preserve yet corrupt in equal measure."

Could you help me understand the bold printed part?
 
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There is an idiom It smelt like death meaning it smelt really awful. I suppose this is a variant: it smelt not exactly like death but as if it was being choked to death.

    It is meant as a colourful, and not a very precise, metaphor.
     

    kinnetik

    Member
    Polish - Poland
    There is an idiom It smelt like death meaning it smelt really awful. I suppose this is a variant: it smelt not exactly like death but as if it was being choked to death.

    It is meant as a colourful, and not a very precise, metaphor.
    Thank you!
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "It smelled to me like some death-choked form of vinegar. Chemicals that preserve yet corrupt in equal measure."
    In Mary Shelley's time, biological specimens, particularly body parts and small animals, were preserved in alcohol or brine. Regardless of which was used, the liquid smells vile, so the idea of "form of vinegar" simply means "type of a pungent smelling liquid."

    Death-choked = filled with death (obviously the specimens were dead.)

     

    kinnetik

    Member
    Polish - Poland
    In Mary Shelley's time, biological specimens, particularly body parts and small animals, were preserved in alcohol or brine. Regardless of which was used, the liquid smells vile, so the idea of "form of vinegar" simply means "type of a pungent smelling liquid."

    Death-choked = filled with death (obviously the specimens were dead.)

    Thank you for that suggestion - it helps a lot.
     
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