One drift [took] me up to the waist


Senior Member
The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 33) | Genius

Quotation: “I shall sully the purity of your floor,” said he, “but you must excuse me for once.” Then he approached the fire. “I have had hard work to get here, I assure you,” he observed, as he warmed his hands over the flame. “One drift took me up to the waist; happily the snow is quite soft yet.”

Context: It was heavily snowing.
Hi everyone! I have a question about the word “took” here. I guess the sentence means “On drift was waist-deep”, but what does “took” here mean?
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    That's not really what I meant. You can use "take" when referring to something which you insert yourself or an object into. Although the crack was narrow, it took my arm up to the elbow. I think the drift is being referred to in this way, although your proposal would also make sense, and may be what the author intended.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    “One [snow]drift took me up to the waist;= caught [and held], captured. In basic terms: he fell into a snowdrift up to his waist and had difficulty getting out.

    In your example, the verb to take is used in its older sense of catch/capture.

    "He was arrested and charged with taking deer within the King's forest."

    The only current use of this meaning that I can think of is "The dog barked and the noise took me by surprise."

    As an aside, to take has the general meaning of "to bring into one's possession" - it is usually used in such sentences as "He took the glass from the table." but it has quite a large subset of other, rarer usages.

    Consider: "
    A: "How did he die?"
    B: "He was taken by a tiger." -> this does not mean "He was taken away/removed by a tiger." it means "He was caught by a tiger." with the implication that the tiger killed him.
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