Heavy-handed mascara

oskhen

Senior Member
Norwegian
Hi, I'm translating a text that contains the following:

"tears spilling black down her cheeks as their hot saltiness melted her heavy-handed mascara".

Would you say that the word 'heavy-handed' here denotes a clumsily laid mascara, or that there's too much of it? Or both? Those, at least, are the alternatives I could think of, from what I've found that the word can mean. Both could of course be wrong.

Thank you
 
  • Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    Yes, it means both. It could be written in the adverbial form: 'heavy-handedly applied mascara'. She applied it [put it on] lavishly, with a heavy hand, and so there was indeed too much of it from the observers's point of view.
     

    oskhen

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Thank you, so it will mean too much, not merely that was clumsily applied (which doesn't necessarily imply anything about amount?)?
     

    exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    The primary meaning of heavy-handed is "too much". as Elwintree has said. Any connotation of clumsiness is secondary to that primary meaning.
     
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