doors standing ponderously ajar

duomoduomo

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, guys.
I can’t figure out the meaning of ponderously in the following sentence. It is translated as a languorously-like word in a Japanese version, but I'm not sure if that is correct. Would you help me?

A narrow and deserted street in deep shadow, high houses, innumerable windows with venetian blinds, a dead silence, grass sprouting between the stones, imposing carriage archways right and left, immense double doors standing ponderously ajar.
Heart of Darkness Thrift Study Edition
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Random House:ponderous: adj.
    of great weight;
    heavy;
    massive:
    a ponderous cargo plane.

    Ponderously: The elephant advanced ponderously.

    The doors are described as "immense" – very large, perhaps huge – and "ponderously" adds even more weight to their being "ajar."
     

    duomoduomo

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks for answering, Copyright, Franco-filly.
    I can understand an elephant walks ponderously (with heavy strides, or clumsily, or maybe slowly), but I’d like a little more info about using ponderously for a state, not for a move. Can I take it, like, if the doors are standing ponderously ajar, the state of being ajar is held even with strong winds? Actually, I also have a feeling it is used figuratively, meaning ‘with dignity’ or ‘gravely,’ since the word is similar to ‘ponder,’ though dictionaries don’t say such things….
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    This was written in 1899 by Joseph Conrad, whose prose can occasionally be a bit ponderous, so I personally wouldn't analyze it down to a "state of being ajar .. even in strong winds." I see "immense" referring to size, and "ponderously" giving an indication of weight, i.e. big, heavy doors that were slightly open.
     
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