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Ventian blind

Member
Urdu-Lucknow
Good morning to everybody,
there is a sentence from Oscar Wilde's 'Happy Prince'. 'In Egypt the sun is warm on the green palm trees, and the crocodiles lie in the mud and look lazily about them.'
What is the meaning of 'look lazily about them' ? For what has 'them' been used here? Thank you.
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It means they cast their eyes lazily around the surrounding landscape. The them means literally their bodies, them, the crocodiles.

    One can say, if one is feeling literary and formal:

    I looked about me.
    He looked about him.

    It's not a form which I would recommend to non-natives, but it is common enough in literature. Wilde is often self-consciously literary in those Fairy Tales.
     
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