dip it out

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Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
I guess 'dip out' here means 'get it out.' But what is the subtlety? How different is it from just 'get it out'? Is it saying you use a ladle to get the water out of the barrel?

My respect for water continued, as it remained a precious commodity. We purchased it from a vendor who transported his wares through the neighborhood by donkey, then we stored the water outside in a barrel. The family dipped it out sparingly for bathing, cleaning, making tea, cooking.
('Desert Flower' by Waris Dirie)
  • egremoq

    Senior Member
    England / English
    It just means that they used/removed the water sparingly, in small quantities, carefully, as it was needed. I don't think it implies a ladle was used unless that is mentioned in the context. It is a fairly unusual use of "dip" (to briefly put something into e.g. water) which is more normally paired with "in" e.g. to dip into a book.


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Where I come from, it is a fairly common meaning of dip:

    to take up, such as by using a bucket or scoop: to dip water out of a boat.

    It is one way of removing water from a container, as opposed to pouring it, for instance. This may also imply that the water was used carefully or sparingly. It is easier to control the amount of water you take out when you take it out in a container than when you pour it out.


    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I did not understand the naming of the outline of the seven brighest stars, known as part of the constellation of Ursa Major, in the US as "The big dipper" until I learned that a dipper is a big ladle. My previous experience was with a rollercoaster in London in the 50's :eek: (Both links to wikipedia) So this use of "dip" as a verb was not unusual.
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