Instead of pounding the mean streets, he ploughed through

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Senior Member
How to detect business fraud
Mr Block is an activist short-seller. His firm, Muddy Waters, borrows shares in a shifty-looking company and then sells them....
There is something of the gumshoe about him—imagine Philip Marlowe, the private eye created by Raymond Chandler, but with coarser language. (Example: XYZ Corporation is a “predatory shit-bag”). Instead of pounding the mean streets, Mr Block ploughs through reams of company documents.

Does the bold phrase mean Mr Block walked around the broken streets like a sleuth/detective? Thanks
  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I don't know how detectives walk around the streets, but pound the streets is an idiom that you can find in the forum dictionary.

    Mean just refers to areas where poorer people live.


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Mean just refers to areas where poorer people live.
    Not in American English it doesn't. Few Americans are aware that "mean" can indicate poor and humble. For most Americans, "mean streets" are hard, tough, and somewhat dangerous streets, although (since the phrase is actually British in origin) that is not the original meaning. There is a very interesting discussion of the development of the phrase (including in connection with the fictional Philip Marlowe) here:
    Down these mean streets — of London?

    In this case, Oswinw011, you have missed the word "Instead." A detective might walk around the streets in rough and dangerous neighborhoods, but Mr. Block does not do that. Instead of pounding the mean streets, Mr. Block does his detective work by reading documents.
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