[hackneyed in] all the poor petty dissipation


Senior Member
The context comes from Jane Eyre Chapter 14

“All right then; limpid, salubrious: no gush of bilge water had turned it to fetid puddle. I was your equal at eighteen—quite your equal. Nature meant me to be, on the whole, a good man, Miss Eyre; one of the better kind, and you see I am not so. You would say you don’t see it; at least I flatter myself I read as much in your eye (beware, by-the-bye, what you express with that organ; I am quick at interpreting its language). Then take my word for it,—I am not a villain: you are not to suppose that—not to attribute to me any such bad eminence; but, owing, I verily believe, rather to circumstances than to my natural bent, I am a trite commonplace sinner, hackneyed in all the poor petty dissipations with which the rich and worthless try to put on life. ...
Hi everyone! I don't quite understand the bold part, especially "hackneyed in". I try to interpret it as below. Is it correct?

dissipation -> unrestrained indulgence in physical pleasures, esp alcohol (from WR dictionary)

hackney ->
8.8 To render habituated, practised, or experienced in: often with dyslogistic connotation. (from OED)
1751 Smollett Per. Pic. (1779) IV. xci. 91 Hackneyed as he was in the ways of life.
1801 M. Edgeworth Good French Governess (1832) 100 Hackneyed in the common language of conversation.
1810 J. Porter Scot. Chiefs lix. 376 Long hackneyed in secret gallantries.
1838 Lytton Alice 27 Persons a little hackneyed in the world.

hackneyed in all the poor petty dissipations -> (made) habituated in the poor petty indulgence.
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Your interpretation looks fine to me. If he is "hackneyed in all the poor petty dissipation" of rich people, he is accustomed to wasting his time or money on these worthless activities.
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