pretty in a straight-backed way

Discussion in 'English Only' started by bajtucha, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. bajtucha Senior Member

    Hi! I'm having trouble with following expression from Stanley Middleton novel Holiday.
    What does mean to be pretty in a straight-backed way? Is this some kind of an idiom?

    'She was pretty in a straight-backed way, with wide eyes open at him, and possessed of a diffident intelligence; he bullied her, and she allowed it, though now and then she opposed his argument, sometimes beat him. She read widely, could contradict his facts, but still preferred a secondary, submissive role, and that pleased him.'

    thanks in advance
  2. Biffo Senior Member

    English - England
    Usually 'straight-backed' describes a type of chair. Picture It can also describe someone's posture. I have no idea how it could relate to being pretty.
  3. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    Straight-back chairs are generally rather plain, upright, and not particularly comfortable. She probably has very tidy hair, doesn't wear much make up, keeps her blouse buttoned up, etc. Even if she is beautiful, she might be described as elegant rather than voluptuous.
  4. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    Agreed. It's what I thought as soon as I saw the thread title.

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