He looked worn and battered

jacdac

Senior Member
Lebanese
He looked worn and battered. He had scars here and there. A big old thing low down on his gut, like a huge white starfish, with thick, crude stitches. An old bullet hole in his chest. A .38, almost certainly.

Source: No Middle Name by Lee Child
Context: The narrator is filling Reacher's appearances in his mind. Reacher is hospitalised and sedated. He is in deep sleep.

If you describe someone as worn and battered, would it mean he looks tired (worn) and bruised (battered)? Does battered refer to bloody swollen bruises or old dried scares or both?

Would a native speaker use this expression in conversation?

Thank you.
 
  • bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    "Worn and battered" could refer merely to an emotional quality: A person who is tired, who looks like they've had a very long day, might be described as such. Given the remainder of the text, though, "worn and battered" probably refers to the very real scars and wounds.
     

    Scrawny goat

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    If you describe someone as worn and battered, would it mean he looks tired (worn) and bruised (battered)? Does battered refer to bloody swollen bruises or old dried scares or both?

    Would a native speaker use this expression in conversation?

    .
    You are correctly interpreting the individual words 'worn' and 'battered', but together as an expression they would be used for a suitcase, for example. Therefore I imagine the person, not as bruised and bleeding, but, for example, with nose and fingers that are that crooked from having been broken.
     
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