ripe meat off the bone

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Agito a42

Senior Member
Source: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), a fantasy movie.

As the fellowship of the ring enters the Mines of Moria, dwarf Gimli says to elf Legolas that his cousin, Balin, will give them a royal welcome: "Soon, Master Elf, you will enjoy the fabled hospitality of the Dwarves. Roaring fires, malt beer, ripe meat off the bone!"

Could you tell me what ripe meat means in this context? Is it cooked or raw?
 
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I assume it's cooked to perfection so that it comes easily off the bone and is very tender. It's a guess, though.
     

    Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    I wondered a little bit about that when I first saw the movie too. I've never encountered it elsewhere. "Ripe" normally refers to fruits & vegetables, where it means the food is picked off the plant at the right time, not too soon or too late, which doesn't work for meat because meat doesn't go through phases of too soon, then ripe, then too late. But it also usually implies "fresh" as well, or at least that it would be fresh if eaten immediately, not put in storage first. So I would infer that Gimli might have meant "fresh" for the meat in that line: recently killed, not killed & then stored for a while.
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    I see. So we can't be sure which interpenetration (Myridon's and kentix's) is right here.

    I wonder about the "off the bone" part as well. kentix said:
    cooked to perfection so that it comes easily off the bone and is very tender
    That was my first thought too, but then I found this explanation for "off/on the bone" in OED:
    "(of meat or fish) having had the bone or bones removed (or left in) before being cooked, served, or sold."
    So I wonder if it's not clear what exactly "off the bone" means here, either?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'm guessing too, but since the speaker seems to be praising the quality of the amenities on offer, I'm imagining it means "well-aged meat cooked on the bone", which would be the most flavourful and tender.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I take your "on" to mean "off", velisarius;.
    For me, the original reference to "meat off the bone" indicates that the dwarves served meat as whole joints and ate it that way, chewing or tearing or slicing chunks off. No namby-pamby deboning here!

    So I agree with veli: the meat was cooked on the bone:).
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    For me, the original reference to "meat off the bone" indicates that the dwarves served meat as whole joints and ate it that way, chewing or tearing or slicing chunks off. No namby-pamby deboning here!

    So I agree with veli: the meat was cooked on the bone:).
    Yes, and the meat was "ripe" as in "aged", "hung", a little "high" (often used with game, hence "gamey").
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I take your "on" to mean "off", velisarius; however, if I'm wrong, please, let me know.
    Loob is right :), I did mean it was cooked "on" the bone - so they were eating it "off the bone".

    Edit: Or, more probably, it was "carved off the bone" from a large joint.
     
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    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    Interesting culinary discussion!
    I hope I'm not too much of a party pooper by pointing out that the original script said:
    ... roaring fires, malt beer, red meat off the bone.​
    This, my friend, is the home of my ....
    :eek::p:rolleyes:
    I have to admit though, the way Gimli pronounces it is ambiguous. Can't blame him, he's a dwarf - and the echo in that cave doesn't help either!
     

    Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    I take your "on" to mean "off", velisarius; however, if I'm wrong, please, let me know.
    Meat that is cooked & served on the bone still gets taken off by your teeth when you eat it; you're taking it off the bone by eating it, so you're eating it off the bone, synonymous with eating/taking it "from" the bone.

    It's part of a pattern I've noticed seeming to increase in the last several years, although it might be because I moved from Missouri to Florida to Pennsylvania rather than because of a change happening over time. Keeping this pattern in mind helps me figure out some strange or confusing things I occasionally hear from my fellow Englishers. It's about how people chose which preposition to use. Any action in which someone takes something from where it was before can be described with a preposition referring to the extraction from that place, instead of a preposition referring to where it was before you did the action (even though the latter is the one I was more familiar with first so the former sounds strange to me). For example, if you find a product at an "online" store and decide to buy it, you're taking it away from that "online" store, so some people would say you ordered it "offline"; it was "on" before so it comes "off" to get to you. And a homeless person with a car full of possessions can be said to live "in" his/her car, because (s)he and his/her possessions are usually in it, or can be said to live "out of" the car, because whenever (s)he wants to use one of those possessions, the car is where (s)he takes it from. It even works for abstract ideas; idea X can be "based on" Y, or it can be "based off (of)" idea Y; X starts at Y but then moves away from it.

    To me, the one that refers to where the thing was before somebody did something with it always sounds more natural, to such an extent that, when I discovered these completely backward-sounding references, I simply couldn't comprehend them at first; it took some time to figure out why people seemed to occasionally say exactly the opposite of what they meant. Keeping in mind this general trend, of sometimes referring to something being taken away instead of where it was, has been necessary to "translate" some other people's English to my English.
     
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