dripping wet

Discussion in 'English Only' started by rzezucha, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. rzezucha Senior Member

    'The first time was when the "path" hugging the mountainside narrowed so much that I - who then weighed 140 pounds dripping wet - wished I was skinner, the better to paste myself against the mountain and avoid plunging to my death two thousand feet below.' (Richard J. Davidson "The Emotional Life of Your Brain")

    Doesn't 'dripping wet' mean that someone is completely soaked? Perhaps he was completely soaked since it was the way up and quite dangerous but it seems to me a bit odd to appear just after the weight - so maybe it is some kind of idiom I cannot find. Thanks for help!
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    It's a humorous and well-known way of saying that even soaking wet and with the weight of the (imaginary) water included, he still only weighed 140 pounds.
  3. pob14 Senior Member

    Central Illinois
    American English
    Yes, it's an idiom. Since things weigh more when wet - especially a person, fully clothed - it's a vivid way of saying "I weighed less than 140 pounds."

    I've usually heard it as "soaking wet."

    Edit: Copyright beat me to it.
  4. eyeofhorus Senior Member

    English - Ireland
    This is interesting.
    I think the author is describing his weight in a playful way. I imagine he had weighed himself just after having a shower, so the reading on the scales was slighly above his actual weight. His point is that he wasn't so heavy at all.

    Edit - aha, thanks to the above posts!
    I hadn't heard the idiom before, but I guessed the meaning pretty accurately :)
  5. rzezucha Senior Member

    I found someone's explanation of this idiom:
    'For me, it was sometime either late in high school or early in college when I finally found out the meaning of the phrase "He weighs ____ pounds dripping wet." I had always used that idiom to mean that somebody was exaggerating their weight because, you know, all that water added some weight. When somebody finally told me, "No, Monsignor you idiot, it means they just stepped out of the shower and are naked as can be," I responded with the universal "D'OH!"

    So that would actually mean that this is our actual weight, when we are naked, without any clothes etc.

    But, as an afterthought, there are more opinions saying that it is used when someone is exaggerating his/her weight...
  6. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    It is neither an exaggeration nor is it a way of saying "This is exactly what he weighs." As POB and Copyright explain, it basically means, "Even when he weighed the maximum possible, such as when his clothes and hair are soaked with water, he still weighed only 140 pounds."

    I also agree with POB that I hear soaking wet more often than dripping wet, but both are fine.

Share This Page