howling screamer [~mouth]

Shandol

Senior Member
Persian
Mr.Steel interrupted. "Doctor, with the greatest possible respect, shut your howling screamer. Jacob, may I talk to you for a second?"
Endgame - Ahsen Bhatti

Have you ever encountered the phrase "howling screamer" before? In the given context, it is being used in the sense of "mouth", however, I wonder whether a native speaker of English would use or understand it.
 
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    For what it's worth: This is a science fiction book and it's self-published. The reviews on the back cover are by three teenage boys and an English teacher.
    Endgame
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    But it's entirely clear what it means.That's the gift of context.

    "however, I wonder whether a native speaker of English would...understand it."

    How could they not? :)

    Added: the last two lines.
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    There's a relevant piece of context you didn't provide, Mnemon. Prior to that sentence, Dr Seven said four times (each time with greater intensity shown by the use of (i) italic, then (ii) italic and bold, then (iii) CAPITALS, then (iv) ITALIC CAPITALS BOLD) - [Google Books] "I am not talking", so we understand at that point that he has been howling and/or screaming, and it's understandable in that context. Otherwise, "screamer" is not generally considered a synonym for "mouth".
     

    Shandol

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Let me put it this way:
    Sentences in the real world don't occur out of context.
    That's downright upright of you, Myridon. :D
    But let me put it this way,
    The phrase must be accompanied by some context, but if the listener, which in this case I assume is a native speaker of English is not familiar with it, the only thing that he/she can do is to guess!
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "Shut your trap" is another way to say that.

    If you ask someone to define the word trap they are very, very unlikely to say it means mouth.

    If you give them that sentence, they are 100 times more likely to say it means mouth.

    If you put it in a specific context it goes even higher. (If you are setting animal traps that would be a different context and shut your trap would have a different meaning.)

    So "understanding" doesn't stand alone. Context doesn't just improve your guesses, it often provides the definition that's appropriate.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    BE, especially when it draws on London slang can be very inventive, especially when it comes to words for mouth. In the context of "shut up!" we'd probably infer the meaning of a fairly wide range of unfamiliar slang.

    That said, this is a self published book which means there has been no professional editorial scrutiny of the text. In general, I would not look to self published books for a standard of "published" written English. Anomalies are likely to be merely that, individual idiosyncrasies and occasionally outright errors.

    I realize that the book format automatically confers some prestige on a piece of text, but self publishing does an end run around professional editorial quality control.
     
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