hang up the political cloak

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danielxu85

Senior Member
Mandarin Chinese
I think you could "hang up" on sb., which means to stop talking to sb. on the phone, but what does hang up the political cloak mean? Could I hang up anything like economical, educational and so on, or I could only hang up political cloak?

After many years in politicas, Jacques Chirac said publically that he's going to hang up the politcal cloak.
 
  • elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    It's a metaphor. I've never come across it before, but it sounds like it means that he will resign.

    A cloak is a coat.

    By the way, where is this text from? Was it written by a native? I ask because the "politically" sounds very out of place.
     

    danielxu85

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    This sentence was written by a Canadian radio host living in China, when he was talking about the ongoing French President. Do you mean that native speakers could not instantly know what the phrase is all about, but have to guess from the context? Could I hang up anything like economical, educational and so on, or I could only hang up political cloak?
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    The meaning is obvious to a native. I wondered who had written the sentence because of the placement of the word "politically," as I said.
     

    danielxu85

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    Why do you think that it sounds politically out of place? In what context, do you think this phrase would best fit in, negative, or positive?
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    First of all, "said politically" sounds strange to me, no matter what the context. I'm not sure what it means to "say something politically."

    Secondly, the sentence sounds ludicrous with "politics," "politically," and "political" (spelling errors corrected) all uttered in practically the same breath.

    Thirdly, if I were to use an adverb (not "politically"!) I would probably place it before "said": "Jacques Chirac pointedly/definitively/publicly said..."

    These are the issues I have with that particular word in this sentence.

    None of this, however, has anything to do with the metaphor used later in the sentence.
     

    danielxu85

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    Thanks, elroy! Could I hang up anything like economical, educational and so on, or I could only hang up political cloak? I think Josh is right in saying that it means retire from political life rather than resign.
     

    Josh_

    Senior Member
    U.S., English
    This sentence was written by a Canadian radio host living in China, when he was talking about the ongoing French President. Do you mean that native speakers could not instantly know what the phrase is all about, but have to guess from the context? Could I hang up anything like economical, educational and so on, or I could only hang up political cloak?
    I'm not sure if the question about context was directed toward my comment, but I will explain what I meant. A cloak, as previously noted is a coat -- an article of clothing -- and normally, one does not abruptly hang up a piece of clothing, nor is he/she generally forced to hang up clothing (except maybe a child) so the connotation as I understand it is that he is going to retire, not resign. If the metaphor had been something like "he is going to hang up the reins of power," then I would think it might mean to resign.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    As I stated earlier, I am not familiar with this particular metaphor; I only tried to deduce its meaning based on the context.

    Others more familiar with it will have to be the ones to answer your question.
     

    lizzeymac

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I have heard & read the phrase "to hang up your _____" - inserting the tools of your craft in the blank. It's not particularly unusual.
    Example: A cowboy (rodeo rider) hangs up his spurs, a judge hangs up his robe, a baseball player hangs up his cleats.
    This phrase is a little "colorful" but not archaic. It's just the sort of slightly unoriginal sentence I would expect to read in the newspaper about a well-known person who has decided to retire.
    Is there some association of a "cloak" with the office of the French President? If not, I think the use of "cloak" is a bit generic - it eliminates the "color" from the phrase. I suppose the writer might just have been reaching for an interesting way to phrase a somewhat dry idea.
     

    danielxu85

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    I am sorry, elroy. There was a miscommunication---my fault. When I realized that, I corrected that. I think I still learned a lot from your meaningful discussion.
     
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