nine grey hairs of a side

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Senior Member
English - US
The following is from Jane Austen's "Persuasion":

"...a certain Admiral Baldwin, the most deplorable looking personage you can imagine, his face the color of mahogany, rough and rugged to the last degree, all lines and wrinkles, nine grey hairs of a side, and nothing but a dab of powder at top."

Do you feel that "of a side" here means "on one side"?

I'd like to see similar examples if you know of any.
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Yes, me too: of a side = 'on each side, on both sides'. (My old granny used to say of people He had a lovely blue eye meaning He had lovely blue eyes ... not quite the same thing, but sort of getting on for being kind of like the same thing.)
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