pushin' athwart my betters...

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Senior Member

It's the Walt Disney movie "Treasure Island".
Some squire, a doctor, and the little boy Jim Hawkins are at Bristol, trying to gather a crew and to sail to the Treasure Island.
John Silver, the pirate manages to manipulate the squire and this one leaves him the duty to select the sailors for the crew.
Here's the piece of dialogue.

"If you can bring in a crew of your stouthearted lads come sundown... I for one will be greatly obliged.
- Well, sir, if 'tis owner's orders...
- Bully boy.
But I don't like to be pushin' athwart my betters but I'll say this, sir... I know every seaman in these here parts like the palm of this hand."

I see it's a very old English, but particularly these
"athwart my betters" got me stuck.

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  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Athwart means across or at right-angles to. Figuratively, as it is used here, to push athwart means to contradict or to oppose (e.g. the opinions of) his betters (superiors).
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