gather his backpack

dichelson

Senior Member
Italy/Italian
Hello: in the following sentence I'm not sure about the meaning of "regather":

"He could eventually come back to his starting point, where he could regather his packpack and call it a day" (previously, the author says that guy had left his backpack stowed under a tree)

What's the difference between picking up one's backpack and gathering it? Thank you
 
  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Gather means to collect individual items together; regather would mean to collect items that were originally together but have been scattered. The context seems to suggest, however, that the pack was not unpacked. Perhaps the writer meant "recover", which would mean, in this context, to get an item back from the place where it was stored or hidden.
     

    SleepingLeopard

    Senior Member
    English - United States (New York)
    I agree. I think gather and regather both sound odd with the object "backpack". I would use recover or retrieve.

    When you gather something, you take multiple objects and pick them all up together.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Hello: in the following sentence I'm not sure about the meaning of "regather":

    "He could eventually come back to his starting point, where he could regather his packpack and call it a day" (previously, the author says that guy had left his backpack stowed under a tree)

    What's the difference between picking up one's backpack and gathering it? Thank you
    Unless the man in the story went back to pick up his backpack AND pick up other things to, gathering them all together, I don't understand the the use of "regather". To me it sounds strange.
     

    dichelson

    Senior Member
    Italy/Italian
    Could it be that it means "regather his belongings in the backpack", assuming implicitely that he had taken something out of the backpack before starting the trip?
     

    SleepingLeopard

    Senior Member
    English - United States (New York)
    Could it be that it means "regather his belongings in the backpack", assuming implicitely that he had taken something out of the backpack before starting the trip?
    If all his belongings were out on the ground, he could regather them and put them back in his backpack, but that doesn't seem to fit with the context. (You wouldn't call this "regathering your backpack". You would gather your things/belongings. Backpack wouldn't be the object of the verb).

    I think the author simply made a poor word choice.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Could it be that it means "regather his belongings in the backpack", assuming implicitely that he had taken something out of the backpack before starting the trip?
    I think to properly use "regather" would explicitly say that items had been taken from it, and that it was necessary to [re]gather this items together and put them in the pack. However, you said that he had merely stashed the pack under the tree, and this, rather strongly, does not suggest unpacking. If you were to stow you backpack somewhere and leave it, would you leave it unpacked? You have read the rest of the story, what do you think?

    On the evidence, I agree with SleepingLeopard that the author has not been careful in the choice of word.
     

    dichelson

    Senior Member
    Italy/Italian
    I'm sure from the rest of the story that he didn't unpack it. He left it there because he was going for a climb, so he tried to leave all unnecessary items behind.

    The only thing I can think of is that he brought something along for his trip, and in principle he might have taken those items from the backpack, and he was planning on regathering them in the backpack. However, not only is it pure speculation, it also doesn't make much sense, because he was going to come back and recover his backpack just to have some rest. Then, he would go for another trip, so it doesn't make sense that he would pack all of his belongings if he had to use some on his next trip.

    By the way, strangely enough, Google returns plenty of hits if you enter "gather his backpack" or something like that. It seems particularly prolific with "gathered my backpack". However, I'm not so familiar with the language and can't fully understand the meaning of all the citations. Can you guys please have a look and let me know if you find anything interesting.
     

    SleepingLeopard

    Senior Member
    English - United States (New York)
    Interesting. I did a Google search, and I did find some uses, but notice if you look at the search that in many cases there are multiple objects of gather (such as: he gathered his backpack, cap, and sunglasses) which is what I consider to be the correct use of the verb.

    There are also uses similar to the one in your text, but I don't like any of them. I would understand what somebody meant if he were to say "I gathered my backpack and left", but I think it sounds terrible, and would only say "retrieved, picked up" etc.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Some of these hits certainly do seem to use the word gather simply means to pick up a single object. Interestingly there is a phrasal verb to "gather up" which means to pick up off the ground and can be used for a single item (a basket is given as an example in the OED). There is also the usage of gather in a sports context, which means to pick up a ball (etc.): "The ball must be gathered in the palm of the hand". These both seem obscure or rather obsolete, but they do provide precedent.
     

    dichelson

    Senior Member
    Italy/Italian
    My guess (as a non-native) is that somebody use "to gather" in this way because if you pick up a collection of items, such as is found in a backpack, you "gather" everything in your arms. Do you think this could be a rationale for this usage?
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I don't think so. I think the author only means the backpack as a single object, he or she is using gather to mean pick up a single thing, although we normally use it to mean collect loose objects together. This usage has precedent, as I explained: but it is unusual. Some may judge it to be incorrect, or non-standard.
     

    dichelson

    Senior Member
    Italy/Italian
    Dictionary.com gives the following definition:
    6. to pick or scoop up: She gathered the crying child in her arms.

    Looking it up at the American Heritage Dictionary one finds:
    To pick up and enfold: gathered the kittens into her arms.

    However, there seems to be an affective connotation here, as is pointed out by the Cambridge Dictionary:

    to put your arms around someone and hold or carry them in a protective or affectionate way:
    He gathered her in his arms and kissed her.
    She gathered the children up and hurried into the house.


    If you drop the affective connotation, you get to gather = to pick up.
     

    dichelson

    Senior Member
    Italy/Italian
    If you want to say that somebody is going to pick up their belongings and put them into their backpack, you say they are going to gather their belongings, NOT their backpack, right?
     
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