reduced to a <quivering jelly>

Discussion in 'English Only' started by slothlee, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. slothlee Senior Member

    In this sentence: At the sight of the bank robbers with their guns, the girl was reduced to a quivering jelly. What does " quivering jelly" mean here? Is it an idiomatic expression?
  2. Dopplereffekt Senior Member

    Given such a terrifying and frightening situation she's in, I suppose she is shaking in/ trembling with fear, metaphorically jittering like jelly does. Since I'm not a native speaker, I can't say if it's idiomatic, though.
  3. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    From the WR dictionary
    It's a fairly common metaphor in BE - "quivering like a jelly".
  4. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    English / England
    It is a very common phrase for expressing nervousness: "reduced to jelly" or "reduced to a quivering jelly". Some might even say it is so common it has become a cliché
  5. bennymix

    bennymix Senior Member

    Ontario, Canada. I grew up in US.
    English (American).
    She is shaking, weak, a mess. Can't do anything. Useless as a bowl of Jello (which just shakes if you disturb it). It's an expression rooted in how weak and shaky we feel in some dangerous situations. We can hardly stand. We're entirely useless.

    This is to summarize points by Andy and suzi, above.
  6. slothlee Senior Member

    Thank you so much bennymix, your summary is really helpful:)

    Thank you for your explanation, suzi.

    Thanks a lot, Andygc.

    Thank you Dopplereffekt, your reply helps a lot, wish you all the best.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2014

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