Flirt with capture

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Maple Sugar, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. Maple Sugar Member

    Mainland China
    Gramsci had taken up membership in the Italian Communist Party in 1926,after many years of active political and interllectual involvemnt with the Italian left-wing groups. Only one year later, after flirting with capture for many years, Gramsci was seized by Benito Mussolini's police and put into prison.

    Could you please explain the expression flirting with capture for me ?
  2. shawnee

    shawnee Senior Member

    English - Australian
    He had risked being captured on many occasions prior to ultimate seizure.
  3. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    The literal meaning of 'flirt' is (see any dictionary) "speak or interact in a light-hearted way with someone you find attractive". It's often used in a metaphorical way: flirt with danger, flirt with capture = come close to it, in a rather careless or teasing way. Also: flirt with the idea of becoming a doctor, flirt with the idea of buying a new car = think about the idea now and again in a not very serious way.
  4. Valvs Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
  5. Maple Sugar Member

    Mainland China
    First, many thanks to all of you.

    I am a Chinese who have just begun to study foreign affairs, since there are what people called "culture shocks" between east and west, I found lots of words difficult to reach out for its meaning even after I consulted several different dictionaries.

    The word flirt is one of these words. So far as I know, it usually connects to an affair which has not much to do with true love.But sometimes it also means someone meant to bend on doing something before giving up it quite soon.

    But now, when put into this vey context, it baffled me again. Does it means that he canningly escaped from those who hated him many times as if he was making fun by these escapes , or does it means that he was an optimistic revolutionist who confronted his enermies fearlessly ?
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
  6. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    It's a good question and I'm not sure the use of the somewhat ambiguous 'flirt' tells us either way.

    In any cse, he came close to capture, whether by doing something risky as a means to accomplish something or just for kicks.
  7. shawnee

    shawnee Senior Member

    English - Australian
    My reading of 'flirt' here is that his actions were those of a brave person, who did not think of the consequences when engaged in dangerous exploits. Another way this is often said is to 'court danger'. This is similar in that it borrows from the language of seduction. It gives the sense that he almost enjoys the risk.
  8. Maple Sugar Member

    Mainland China
    To shawnee:I finally got it after you explain it to me , thanks .
  9. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    I don't think this is right in BE, Maple Sugar. Entangled's definition, to speak or interact in a light-hearted way with someone you find attractive, is pretty accurate. Flirting isn't so much a business of conducting a casual affair, but the way in which the more old-fashioned, less brash, members of the community indicate to another person that they find them attractive. As such it can be an important preliminary to what may become true love.

    A famous clergyman was making this point when he asked the questions: how can a bishop marry? how can he flirt?

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