He has a fine person.

Demophobia

Member
Chinese
Why does "He has a fine person." mean "He is good-looking"?Is this sentence often used in daily life?Could someone help me, please?
 
Last edited:
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Why does "He has is a fine person." mean "He is good looking"?Is this sentence often used in daily life?
    People used to say He/She is fine to mean He/She is good-looking. However, I haven't heard that expression in years.

    He/She is a fine person should mean that he or she is a good person - a person whose behavior and character is admirable and worthy of praise.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    He has a fine person. :cross:
    He is a fine person. :tick: (an unusual statement; tends to imply that he’s of good character)
    He’s a fine figure of a man. :tick: (an idiom relating to appearance; rather formal)
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Why does "He has a fine person." mean "He is good-looking"?Is this sentence often used in daily life?Could someone help me, please?
    Please tell us where you saw this sentence. It was certainly not in common use in the past 50 or 60 years, if before then. What leads you to believe it means good-looking? (maybe it does but please tell us how you discovered this meaning).
     

    Demophobia

    Member
    Chinese
    People used to say He/She is fine to mean He/She is good-looking. However, I haven't heard that expression in years.

    He/She is a fine person should mean that he or she is a good person - a person whose behavior and character is admirable and worthy of praise.

    Please tell us where you saw this sentence. It was certainly not in common use in the past 50 or 60 years, if before then. What leads you to believe it means good-looking? (maybe it does but please tell us how you discovered this meaning).
    I just found the "appearance" in some dictionaries such as American Heritage dictionary for learners of English. Also "person" in Collins has the "appearance" meaning. Quite weird for me.

    Screenshot_20220706_113238_edit_280205634315055.jpg


    Screenshot_20220706_113435_edit_280275515975461.jpg


    ↑The second is where I found this expression. Probably the most authoritative dictionary for translators in our country.
     
    Last edited:

    Demophobia

    Member
    Chinese
    He has a fine person. :cross:
    He is a fine person. :tick: (an unusual statement; tends to imply that he’s of good character)
    He’s a fine figure of a man. :tick: (an idiom relating to appearance; rather formal)
    🤔Oh, it's the first time for me to see the third sentence. Thx a lot!💕💕💕
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    One of the meanings is "body": He had a weapon concealed on his person.

    I can't think of any context where "person" means "appearance". In past times we might have said that "He was attracted to her mind as much as to her person" (with person meaning "physical appearance/body").
     

    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    SSBE (Standard Southern British English)
    Why does "He has a fine person." mean "He is good-looking"?
    It doesn't!
    Is this sentence often used in daily life?
    No. Definitely not. The sentence is meaningless in modern English. The only context I could imagine is if the 'person' in question were a different individual from the subject of the sentence e.g. "John's business is going well now. He has a fine person who does his accounts for him. Mary is an excellent accountant and John is lucky to have her."
    Could someone help me, please?
    A suggestion.... I suspect that your translators' dictionary entry refers to an instance of 'person' with that meaning from a text that might be hundreds of years old. I'm thinking in particular of the adjective 'personable', which nowadays tends to describe a pleasant manner and personality, but which used to refer to appearance. This suggests that the word 'person' might, at some point in the past, have described appearance. However, it certainly doesn't any more.

    [*This is the problem with some dictionaries, especially Chinese ones. Another example: a single instance of the highly unusual term "a green hand" in Huckleberry Finn found its way into a Chinese translators' dictionary, with the result that millions of Chinese people believe this strange phrase to be an everyday synonym for "beginner".]
     

    Demophobia

    Member
    Chinese
    It doesn't!

    No. Definitely not. The sentence is meaningless in modern English. The only context I could imagine is if the 'person' in question were a different individual from the subject of the sentence e.g. "John's business is going well now. He has a fine person who does his accounts for him. Mary is an excellent accountant and John is lucky to have her."

    A suggestion.... I suspect that your translators' dictionary entry refers to an instance of 'person' with that meaning from a text that might be hundreds of years old. I'm thinking in particular of the adjective 'personable', which nowadays tends to describe a pleasant manner and personality, but which used to refer to appearance. This suggests that the word 'person' might, at some point in the past, have described appearance. However, it certainly doesn't any more.

    [*This is the problem with some dictionaries, especially Chinese ones. Another example: a single instance of the highly unusual term "a green hand" in Huckleberry Finn found its way into a Chinese translators' dictionary, with the result that millions of Chinese people believe this strange phrase to be an everyday synonym for "beginner".]
    Wow!!That makes sense. 😯But "green hand" doesn't mean "beginner"?!What does it mean then🤔I've learned about so much wrong translation in fact?!😵
     

    Demophobia

    Member
    Chinese
    One of the meanings is "body": He had a weapon concealed on his person.

    I can't think of any context where "person" means "appearance". In past times we might have said that "He was attracted to her mind as much as to her person" (with person meaning "physical appearance/body").
    Same thought!The translation is kind of weird for me because Mr So-and-so has translated it into "appearance" instead of the "body"🤔
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    😯But "green hand" doesn't mean "beginner"?!What does it mean then🤔I've learned about so much wrong translation in fact?!😵
    The point is that the expression ‘green hand’ is simply not in use in modern English. Most people have probably never even heard of it. And even when it was in use in the past, it was restricted almost exclusively to maritime contexts, specifically meaning a new recruit on a ship. In short, it’s an archaic term familiar only to readers of Mark Twain, and you’d do well to forget it altogether.

    And as far as I can see, in Collins there’s only one mention of “appearance” in relation to the word person, and that’s also very much a fringe/rare use:

    person
    3b. bodily form or appearance (ex: to be neat about one's person)​
     

    Demophobia

    Member
    Chinese
    The point is that the expression ‘green hand’ is simply not in use in modern English. Most people have probably never even heard of it. And even when it was in use in the past, it was restricted almost exclusively to maritime contexts, specifically meaning a new recruit on a ship. In short, it’s an archaic term familiar only to readers of Mark Twain, and you’d do well to forget it altogether.

    And as far as I can see, in Collins there’s only one mention of “appearance” in relation to the word person, and that’s also very much a fringe/rare use:

    person
    3b. bodily form or appearance (ex: to be neat about one's person)​
    😵From now on I'll forget it for good. Yep, this is what I have found. There is mismatch between its definition and the translation I saw so I found it very confused.😵🤔BTW, if possible, could u perhaps give some similar examples of "green hand" ?(Similar mistakes that English learners usually make in translation or usage🤔)
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There are loads of definitions in the major dictionaries of obscure words and terms that even lifelong English speakers have either never heard of or never had occasion to use. But it would be impossible to identify them for you, even if that were allowed in this forum. Sorry.
     

    Demophobia

    Member
    Chinese
    There are loads of definitions in the major dictionaries of obscure words and terms that even lifelong English speakers have either never heard of or never had occasion to use. But it would be impossible to identify them for you, even if that were allowed in this forum. Sorry.
    OK. Still give a big hug to you.💕💕💕Thx for your elaboration.💕💕💕💕
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    ... BTW, if possible, could u perhaps give some similar examples of "green hand" ?...
    The adjective green meaning new, comes from the fact that new wood is green whilst it is growing.

    The phrase "green hand" may not even have been an idiom. It could have been a simple collocation, i.e. This person was a hand (a crew member) and he was green to the job (a beginner).

    green
    5. immature in age or judgment;
    inexperienced:
    green recruits.
    green - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    hand
    3. a person performing manual labor or general duties:
    a ranch hand.
    hand - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    _______________________________________________________

    Note

    You may also be interested in the American term "greenhorn"

    green•horn (grēnhôrn′), n.
    1. an untrained or inexperienced person.
    2. a naive or gullible person;
      someone who is easily tricked or swindled.
    3. Slang Terms a newly arrived immigrant;
      newcomer.
    greenhorn - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    ______________________________________________________

    EDIT

    Oops! I have just realised that I joined this thread in the middle and this answer is way off the original topic.
     
    Last edited:

    Demophobia

    Member
    Chinese
    The adjective green meaning new, comes from the fact that new wood is green whilst it is growing.

    The phrase "green hand" may not even have been an idiom. It could have been a simple collocation, i.e. This person was a hand (a crew member) and he was green to the job (a beginner).





    _______________________________________________________

    Note

    You may also be interested in the American term "greenhorn"



    ______________________________________________________

    EDIT

    Oops! I have just realised that I joined this thread in the middle and this answer is way off the original topic.
    Never mind. Thank u so so much.💕💕💕💕
     
    Top