". . . something seems to have gone out of me."


In Biblical times, a man or woman was thought to become unclean whenever something leaves the body (menses, semen, etc.). In Oscar Wilde's ever delightful The Picture of Dorian Gray, we find an expression that seems to hold a similar meaning. I take it you know the story - in Chapter 9, Dorian tricks Basil into revealing his secret. And then he says:

“My dear Basil,” said Dorian, “what have you told me? Simply that you felt that you admired me too much. That is not even a compliment.”
“It was not intended as a compliment. It was a confession. Now that I have made it, something seems to have gone out of me. Perhaps one should never put one’s worship into words.”*

Is this a standard expression, I wonder, i.e. with just these connotations? In the context, the expression seems to imply: "I've said too much - I've revealed something that has made me feel embarrassed," which is not a far cry from a more generalized notion of becoming unclean by something leaving the body.

* http://www.hoboes.com/FireBlade/Fiction/Wilde/dorian/dorian9/
  • KHS

    Senior Member
    Saying that "something had gone out of him" is a way of saying that he had lost some kind of energy (physical, spiritual, emotional). It's not uncommon, although also not something you would hear every day.
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