Push on through a breach, but you cant batter down a dead wall

Horizens

Senior Member
Arabic
What is meant by the underlined term in the following: "She reproached me with lacking boldness and I answered that even to be bold you must have an opportunity: you may push on through a breach, but you cant batter down a dead wall."? (Taken from: The Aspern Papers by Henry James)
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    you may push on through a breach, but you cant batter down a dead wall." = you may go through a hole in a wall, but you cant batter down a complete wall - in the sense of a solid wall/ an unbroken wall, i.e. a wall without doors, windows, etc.

    This use of dead is now only used in a few set phrases "Dead end"; dead stop; dead on, dead right etc."
     
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