ripe ground

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AlexanderIII

Senior Member
Russian
Dear all,
this is from a story by Anne Enright 'Felix'.

It was into this greyness that Felix would drop, like a hard little apple into the ripe ground.

As I can see it is a commonly used word combination. Nevertheless I cannot find the definition. Does "ripe" mean here "prepared", "suitable", "supportive", "auspicious"?
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The "hard little apple" would be an unripe apple, and the ground is described as "ripe" - this is a metaphor for something. "Ripe" seems to simply mean ripe, as a fruit can be ripe (mature, ready for eating). It's literature, it doesn't need to make literal sense.
     

    AlexanderIII

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thank you very much, Velisarus and Se16teddy.

    "Ripe" seems to simply mean ripe, as a fruit can be ripe (mature, ready for eating). It's literature, it doesn't need to make literal sense.
    Probably, Velisarus, you are right.

    Nevertheless there are examples of "ripe ground" (besides ripe ground cherries) in the Web. So somewhere in the English-speaking world it means something other than "ripe, as a fruit can be ripe".
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    You mean something like this -

    As is increasingly the case in the Middle East and Africa, refugees living in poverty and despair are a ripe ground for recruitment by violent extremists

    refugeerights.org/hope-help/

    They are very receptive to overtures from the extremists.

    So what is this "greyness" in your sentence, Alexander? There isn't much context there for us to work with.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I must eat my words and admit that googling '"ripe ground" -cherry' produces a lot more results than I expected. It does seem to be a collocation in some places, meaning "fertile soil" (in its metaphorical sense).

    I plead in mitigation that "ripe ground" occurs nowhere in the OED, nor does the OED suggest that "ripe" can have the meaning "fertile".
     
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    AlexanderIII

    Senior Member
    Russian
    You mean something like this -

    As is increasingly the case in the Middle East and Africa, refugees living in poverty and despair are a ripe ground for recruitment by violent extremists

    refugeerights.org/hope-help/

    They are very receptive to overtures from the extremists.

    So what is this "greyness" in your sentence, Alexander? There isn't much context there for us to work with.
    Greyness I am afraid is just greyness. Greyness of life is its boredom, ennui, tedium, I suppose.

    My anonymity was crystallized, my life since Diarmuid was staring me in the face, tepid and blank. Everything had dropped away – I could do anything now. What interests me, I thought, is not life, the incidents that fill it, not images or moments, but this central greyness. ...It was into this greyness that Felix would drop, like a hard little apple into the ripe ground.
     

    AlexanderIII

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I must eat my words and admit that googling '"ripe ground" -cherry' produced a lot more results than I expected. It does seem to be a collocation in some places, meaning "fertile soil" (in its metaphorical sense).
    Not cherry, but cherr to exclude both cherries and cherry.

    Yes, that's what Perpend suggested (post #2)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Felix is the hard little apple, and I presume that she is the "ripe ground" that is ready to receive him. "Ripe ground" then is fertile soil, but there must also be the idea of ripeness as maturity - I gather she's an older woman and Felix is a young lad. He is hard and unripe (immature) whereas she is soft and welcoming and mature.
     

    AlexanderIII

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Velisarius, I share with you all the ideas of post #12.
    Moreover, like many biosystems soil develops in time, so it can be young (primitive) or more or less developed (mature, ripe).
    Thanks again, Versalius.
     
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