give a needle

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gepardo

Member
Portugal Portuguese
Hi,

Could you please help me get the meaning of this sentence:


"he did a short hitch [= "he stayed for a short time",I presume] in Joliet for pistol-whipping another twist [??] that had given him the needle [??]"

(fom The Maltese Falcon, chap. 15)


Thank you.
 
  • JeffJo

    Senior Member
    USA
    USA, English
    gave him the needle - provoked him or goaded him

    She talked to him in such a sharp, painful way that he hit her.
     

    gepardo

    Member
    Portugal Portuguese
    Thanks.

    That helps a lot.

    Just one more question: do you think "pistol-whipping" could be metaphorical, meaning he hit her anyhow (not necessarily with a pistol), something like a macho aggression?
     

    JeffJo

    Senior Member
    USA
    USA, English
    Well, in that context, "pistol-whip" is probably literal. He probably drew the pistol and threatened to shoot her, but then hit her with the gun, instead. Based on the kind of story it is, that's my guess.
     
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