fairly burned

Quantz

Senior Member
French
I don't understand that (probably) poetic choice of verb.

A robber inserts a copy of a key in a door. When the copy works perfectly,
there is that phrase :

"The key turned freely, and his eyes fairly burned."

Not sure to understand this. I answer your questions in advance :
no context of burning/sickness/disease/atmospheric cause for these
eyes to burn. ;)
 
  • zita beretta

    Senior Member
    France - French
    son regard s'alluma passablement ?
    ses yeux s'embrasèrent tout à fait ?
    I cannot choose between the two meanings of "fairly" : assez/plus ou moins/passablement , ou vraiment/tout à fait/complètement
    I'm afraid I'm not a great help :(...
     

    RennieViolet

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I don't understand that (probably) poetic choice of verb.

    A robber inserts a copy of a key in a door. When the copy works perfectly,
    there is that phrase :

    "The key turned freely, and his eyes fairly burned."

    Not sure to understand this. I answer your questions in advance :
    no context of burning/sickness/disease/atmospheric cause for these
    eyes to burn. ;)
    Is this text British or something? Because I see/hear this usage more from the English... 'fairly' here I think I would say 'his eyes practically burned' or 'his eyes almost burned'. It's figurative of course, and I think hampton.mc is on the right track.

    A caveat: I'm American, and pretty much never use fairly this way.
     

    Quantz

    Senior Member
    French
    Is this text British or something? Because I see/hear this usage more from the English... 'fairly' here I think I would say 'his eyes practically burned' or 'his eyes almost burned'. It's figurative of course, and I think hampton.mc is on the right track.

    A caveat: I'm American, and pretty much never use fairly this way.
    Purely American author. Former aide of Jimmy Carter.
     

    hampton.mc

    Senior Member
    French
    The key turned freely, and his eyes fairly burned."
    turned freely/fairly burned
    Is it a normal robbery or is there a bigger stake in this special one for him?
     

    hampton.mc

    Senior Member
    French
    Because the key turns freely, he is getting closer to his prey, serait-ce le début d'une excitation sexuelle, le "fairly burned"?
    Fairly would be "presque/pratiquement" here as: "How is the roast Darling?" "It's fairly done"
    Donc il commencerait à se consumer (d'envie)
    ... ses yeux s'embrasaient ???
    Bon je ferais peut-être mieux d'aller me coucher au lieu d'extrapoler ;)
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    "Fairly" does have a rather literary quality to it, considering its source here. The closest English equivalent to its use here would be "all but."

    So, "ses yeux presque cuisants" ???

    Compare:
    Conan Doyle: "His eyes fairly glittered as he spoke ... "
    Willa Cather: "Her eyes fairly blazing with things she could not say ..."
    and just so you don't think the usage is outmoded:
    Catherine Anderson (2003): "His eyes fairly danced with mischief."
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Not sexual, not any kind of emotion. It's just another way of saying "almost/virtually/practically..." + verb.
    E.g:
    He fairly collapsed with exhaustion.
    I'm fairly melting with the heat.
    Etc...
     
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