Loose niece

Htmx99

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi. Thanks for your help always here. This is from a rom-com show.
After a woman found out she was not pregnant, her friend said this to her.
"Look, while you're on a tear, I've got a loose niece in the Rockaways that could use a talking to".
I guess it's joke but have no idea what she is saying at all... so anybody kindly help me?
 
  • Htmx99

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    "Loose women" is a Victorian (or older) expression that means 'promiscuous women'.
    Wow my jaw just dropped. Didn't think of it. Thank you! Can I ask a bit more? With "could use a talking to" part, use is a verb and a taking to is object noun?
     

    S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    Yes. It's also an expression that evaluates to 'it would be good if you talked to her', with the implication that the 'talk' will be something she needs but doesn't want to hear.
     

    Htmx99

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Yes. It's also an expression that evaluates to 'it would be good if you talked to her', with the implication that the 'talk' will be something she needs but doesn't want to hear.
    It makes sense. Thank you very much! I spent about an hour thinking what she's saying. You saved me! Thanks again!
     

    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    English - SSBE Standard British
    Just to explain further:

    In the second part of the sentence, the object is more than just talking: it's the whole noun phrase a talking to. It's sometimes hyphenated and often paired with 'good', as in this dictionary entry:

    talking-to


    singular noun
    If you give someone a talking-to, you speak to them severely, usually about something unacceptable that they have done, in order to show them they were wrong.

    [informal]
    The team manager said: 'Tony has had a good talking-to and regrets his action'.
    Synonyms: reprimand, lecture, rebuke, scolding


    Talking-to definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

    Note that 'good' means 'thorough' in this context.


    NB In case you weren't aware of it, X could use Y is a mainly American English expression meaning that X is in need of Y. X can be a person ( e.g. "I could use a drink") or a thing ( e.g. "That wall could use a lick of paint").
     

    Htmx99

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Just to explain further:

    In the second part of the sentence, the object is more than just talking: it's the whole noun phrase a talking to. It's sometimes hyphenated and often paired with 'good', as in this dictionary entry:

    talking-to


    singular noun
    If you give someone a talking-to, you speak to them severely, usually about something unacceptable that they have done, in order to show them they were wrong.

    [informal]
    The team manager said: 'Tony has had a good talking-to and regrets his action'.
    Synonyms: reprimand, lecture, rebuke, scolding


    Talking-to definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

    Note that 'good' means 'thorough' in this context.


    NB In case you weren't aware of it, X could use Y is a mainly American English expression meaning that X is in need of Y. X can be a person ( e.g. "I could use a drink") or a thing ( e.g. "That wall could use a lick of paint").
    Thank you very much for further explanation! It helps a lot, especially X coulse use Y part. You guys are wonderful teachers to me.
     

    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    English - SSBE Standard British
    Thank you very much for further explanation! It helps a lot, especially X coulse use Y part. You guys are wonderful teachers to me.
    You're welcome, Htmx99. And just in case you're interested, the British English equivalent of the American X could use Y is X could do with Y . For example, I would say "I could do with a drink" and "That wall could do with a lick of paint".
     

    Htmx99

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    You're welcome, Htmx99. And just in case you're interested, the British English equivalent of the American X could use Y is X could do with Y . For example, I would say "I could do with a drink" and "That wall could do with a lick of paint".
    Ah thank you. I'm totally interested. It's from an American show this time but I used to live in the UK and love British English. Cheers!
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    In case anyone is thinking of using this phrase, I'd say that "loose niece" is only understandable in that particular context, and as a bit of a joke.
     

    S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    Calling any woman 'loose' these days is likely to give offense. The metaphor is literally that of a straying animal; so a loose woman is one who is not under the proper male control of a husband or father.
     

    Ellieanne

    Senior Member
    British English, South East
    Or ‘loose woman’ can be used humorously. There is a daytime UK TV show of the light discussion variety, called Loose Women, where a panel of women chat about various topical subjects.
     
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