lean and hungry

Dchomi

Senior Member
French (Belgium)
Hi everybody,

I’m not sure I’ve correctly understood the meaning of the above in the following context (it takes place at Woodstock festival ’69):

“Alvin Lee of Ten Years After was a lean and hungry Brit whose guitar looked like it would tip him over.”

My try:
“Alvin Lee, membre du groupe Ten Years After était un britannique mince et affamé dont la guitare semblait prête à le faire tomber à la renverse.”

I'm wondering if “lean and hungry” is an idiom or if it simply means that even though he's always hungry and eats all the time he is thin. Could native English speakers help me, please?

Thank you in advance for your help!
 
  • orlando09

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    I agree it's from Shakespeare, and I think in the original context it is to be taken in a literal and a figurative sense - that Cassius is dissatisfied and hungry for power, but also literally that he is a thin man, as opposed to one who looks plump (with a suggestion of being prosperous and self-satisfied - and not a danger to Caesar).

    Here however it sounds like it is just being used to mean the guitarist is thin and weedy
     

    Dchomi

    Senior Member
    French (Belgium)
    Thank you for these explanations guys! :)

    In this case, do you think I should say "mince et affamé" or simply "mince", knowing that affamé is figurative?
    Thank you in advance!
     

    steviesouris

    Senior Member
    It's actually quite a popular idiom for someone new on the scene who really wants it. Like a young wolf.

    It isn't necessary to be physically lean. A small company can be "lean and hungry" when compared to its larger complacent competition. It's all about desire.

    The sentence, “Alvin Lee of Ten Years After was a lean and hungry Brit whose guitar looked like it would tip him over.” has a double meaning. Alvin was indeed skinny, but he also really wanted to make it.
     
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