getting sort of purplish about the gills

< Previous | Next >

az09

Senior Member
Chinese
Could someone please clarify to me the meanings of "the gills" in following sentences from Nabokov's Lolita:
She and the dog saw me off. I was surprised (this a rhetorical figure, I was not) that the sight of the old car in which she had ridden as a child and a nymphet, left her so very indifferent. All she remarked was it was getting sort of purplish about the gills. I said it was hers, I could go by bus. She said don’t be silly, they would fly to Jupiter and buy a car there. I said I would buy this one from her for five hundred dollars.
Thank you so much!
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Green about the gills" is an idiom that describes someone who looks or feels nauseated. Taking this a step further, to "purplish about the gills", I think Lolita is saying that the car looks very old, like a very old fish with discoloured gills.
     

    az09

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "Green about the gills" is an idiom that describes someone who looks or feels nauseated. Taking this a step further, to "purplish about the gills", I think Lolita is saying that the car looks very old, like a very old fish with discoloured gills.
    Thank you so much!
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top