give the ship “much over an hour to live.

redgiant

Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
Example: He (Andrews) told competent Stewardess Mary Sloan, “It is very serious, but keep the bad news quiet, for fear of panic.” He told John B. Thayer, whom he trusted implicitly, that he didn’t give the ship “much over an hour to live.”

Source: A Night to Remember by Walter Lord

Background:Several hours after the Titanic fatally crashed into a gigantic iceberg, the reality still had not sunk in among most of the passengers and crew members. They were still holding on to the myth that she was unsinkable, even though the bow plunged deeper and deeper into the deadly coldness of the Atlantic Ocean. But Thomas Andrew, the Titanic builder, already figured out how dangerous the situation could be after inspecting the damage caused by the collision.

Hi,
I was wondering if I could use the expression in a medical context:
Suppose a doctor predicted that his terminally ill patient didn't have more than 24 hours to live, would "A doctor gave a patient no more than 24 hours" make sense to you?
 
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Yes. That is its original usage: with regard to a person or another living being such as an animal. It is used metaphorically to refer to a ship, because a ship is not alive in the biological sense.
     

    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    I take it. This expression in fact comes from doctors predicting the timing of deaths.
     
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