from across the tracks

SantaClaus01

Senior Member
Korean
Sam Salomon is one of those tough guys from across the tracks. A real brat.


Hello guys! This is from <The Diary of Anne Frank>. What does it mean to be "from across the tracks"?
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    It's an old-fashioned expression in English. We also say he is from "the wrong side of the tracks".

    In the metaphor, the bad part of the town (tough, high crime) is on the other side of railroad tracks.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I wonder if it is a metaphor here, though. If it was written by an American, then I would undoubtedly agree with dojibear, but the expression does not exist in BrE, and I have no idea whether there is a similar expression in Dutch. I think it unlikely a translator would have introduced a metaphor into the work if it had not been there in the original.

    My guess is that Sam Salomon literally lived on the other side of the railway line from where Anne Frank lived.
     

    User With No Name

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    My guess is that Sam Salomon literally lived on the other side of the railway line from where Anne Frank lived.
    I looked up the quote. She's characterizing several of the boys she knows. I'm pretty sure it's the metaphorical, not literal, wrong side of the tracks. It's a fairly common expression in U.S. English, so an American translator probably wouldn't hesitate to use it to express "from the bad part of town."
     

    SantaClaus01

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thank you all for the replies. It really helped me to understand. It is a pleasure to learn the new phrase everyday!
     
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