gone-dead, bone-superior attitude

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Senior Member
Hello, I'm back :) I need to know "gone-dead, bone-superior". An American and an English woman are talking about the goods of being English and American. She is asking him to tell her what are the good features of America that England should envy (they have previously discussed about the superiority behaviour that both states actually have and that they hate in each other, but they are still discussing about it). I actually think I get the meaning of the words, but as I do not find them in any dictionary I need to play safe.

“Well, Miss Cherrell, we know that we have qualities and energy and faith and opportunities that you just ought to envy; and when you don’t do it, we feel we’ve no use for that kind of gone-dead, bone-superior attitude."

Reference: Maid in Waiting by John Galsworthy

Thank you!
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    When a device "goes dead" it stops functioning. When a phone "goes dead" it stops responding; it doesn't send or receive messages. A person might 'go dead' in the same fashion: They might stop interacting with other people or responding.

    A person who is 'bone superior' would be someone who feels themselves to be superior through and through, down to the bone.

    Apparently, the speaker sees Miss Cherrell as having both of those qualities.

    Neither of these are fixed expressions or in common use, in my experience. Perhaps the author made them up, or perhaps he heard them used where and when he lived.

    (Note: If you have an idea of what something means, you should tell us what it is.)
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