not to be reckoned with?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ddubug, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. ddubug Senior Member


    Could you help me with this expression?

    <"Yes." I said, returning to the moment. There was a subtle, though
    not to be reckoned with, rumble in my voice.">

    I've looked up the dictionary.
    'reckone' means...'count', 'include'.

    What does this mean in this sentences?
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  2. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    In this context it means "I am not to be confronted".

    I am not sure how this came to be, but it is pretty standard way to say this in spoken form. You see it far more rarely in text.
  3. ddubug Senior Member

    Thank you.

    But I can't understand 'I'm not confronted'.

    What does it mean?

    This person is before an agreement. And he is talking to the other
  4. Antoine de Tyssandier

    Antoine de Tyssandier Member

    This is a half hidden rumble in his voice... Which denotes a possible disagreement.
  5. ddubug Senior Member

    Thank you..

    but I still got the clear picture of 'not to be reckoed with',
    why the author put this expression in this sentence?
    Without it, the sentence doesn't have any problem..right?
    I'd like to know his INTENTION.

    Thank you in advance.
  6. eni8ma

    eni8ma Senior Member

    English - Australia
    He is not necessarily disagreeing.

    His voice shows that he is a man "not to be reckoned with", in other words, he has a strong personality, and will be quite determined in any dealings with others. He may be in full agreement with the other people in this conversation at this time, but will certainly be forceful and determined with anyone who opposes him.
  7. eni8ma

    eni8ma Senior Member

    English - Australia
    Siamese Cats—A Breed Not to be Reckoned With
    The wind is a force not to be reckoned with this morning

    If someone or something is "not to be reckoned with", there is a sense that you won't win against them.
  8. xjm Senior Member

    WI, USA
    English - USA
    Interesting. I've more often heard a force to be reckoned with (without the "not"). Meaning, the thing being described is no trivial matter, but something you'll have to consider or confront from a position of strength.

    I guess adding not makes it more superlative. Essentially: this thing is stronger than you can muster, so don't even try to mess with it!
  9. eni8ma

    eni8ma Senior Member

    English - Australia
    You might be right :)

    I've always had an intuitive sense of what the phrase means, so have never thought about how to put it into any other words. Your explanation sounds good to me.
  10. elianecanspeak

    elianecanspeak Senior Member

    by Lake Michigan
    English - EEUU
    "To be reckoned with" usually means "powerful" or "significant".

    "Not to be reckoned with" is a phrase I had never heard before, and it doesn't make sense to me, but when I googled it I found almost five million hits. Logically it would mean a person who is not a threat, but I don't think that is what it means here. In your quotation it seems to mean "There was a subtle, but warning/menacing rumble in my voice". (To me this does not sound well written in spite of the many google hits; it sounds like "irregardless" which many people now use to mean "regardless".)

    It sounds to me like a combination of two different expressions: "to be reckoned with" and "to mess with" or "to trifle with".

    A person "to be reckoned with" is someone powerful or difficult to challenge successfully.
    A person you don't want to trifle or mess with is someone you do not want to challenge or someone you do not want to become involved with.

    [NB: On the other hand, "not reckoned on" would mean "not to be taken into account" "that could not be dealt with". It could also mean "that I had not planned on" or "unexpected".]

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