she< hangs over >the Monday washing-tub

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi
Here is a sentence from the novel, Tess of D'Urbervilles:
"There stood her mother amid the group of children, as Tess had left her, hanging over the Monday washing-tub, which had now, as always, lingered on to the end of the week. "

Please notice the phrase "hang over". The Chinese tranlsation is "being busy with", but after I looked up all the entries of "hang", I didn't find such an entry. Indeed, 'being busy with" makes sense in the orginal sentence, but what's the exact meaning of "hanging over" here?

Thank you in advance
 
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  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I read it as "bending over (from the waist)." This would seem to be in conflict with "stood," which generally means "upright," but perhaps it just means "on her feet," rather than sitting. Here's the image I have in mind.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Sorry, Coppyright. But I can't open the link you offered. You know that we have a tyrannic goverment, and the website must have been blocked. Thank you all the same. Anyway, I know "hanging(not bending) over" here is hard to understand from your words.
     
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    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hanging over and bending over are the same. We also use it like "He was hanging over the fence/rail/etc."

    See if this link works for the wash tubs. If not, try this one. (They're all the same photo.)
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Yes, AutumnOwl, I saw your picture. Thank you. It's a picure to show "bending over" rather than "hanging over". OK, I would use "busy with" instead of "hanging over" since that even the native English speakers can't tell the meaning of "hanging over". I guess it's likely to be a typo or a usage, so old that few of today can understand it. Thanks again.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Please see my comment in post 5 – "hanging over" is not a typo. And "busy with" tells us nothing about the person's posture. Autumn Owl has given you essentially the same visual reference that I have for "hanging over," so we can definitely tell what it means.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    God only knows what could have been meant. It could have been literally "hanging over" (belly and all), or figuratively "hanging over" (of gossip nature).

    Again, God only knows. Maybe someone is versed in the way people spoke at that time.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Hanging over and bending over are the same. We also use it like "He was hanging over the fence/rail/etc."

    See if this link works for the wash tubs. If not, try this one. (They're all the same photo.)
    Good explanation, Copyright. How could I appreciate you? You and other friends have been taking trouble to help others, unlike the <<surprise!>>.
     
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    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    -
    Swedish
    God only knows what could have been meant. It could have been literally "hanging over" (belly and all), or figuratively "hanging over" (of gossip nature).
    The mother was washing clothes, and rocking the cradle of her youngest child, as a paragraph later it says "...the water dribbled from the matron's elbows...", so no time for gossiping there.
     
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