steel them to wrest a livelihood

Ovidius

Banned
Hi all,

I am perplexed with this sentence, in fact I have not been able to comprehend its meaning.

In New England, for example, colonists followed a grim Calvinist theology that steeled them to wrest a livelihood from a 'howling wilderness'.

Thanks a lot in advance.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    The colonists followed a religion that hardened them so that they had the strength to make a living from the fearsome wilderness they were in.

    Close, anyway. :)

    From our dictionary:
    steel: 2 verb, to make hard and unfeeling: he steeled his heart against her sorrow, he steeled himself for the blow
    wrest: 3 verb, to obtain by laborious effort
     
    Last edited:

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    to steel
    vb
    (transitive)
    • to fit, plate, edge, or point with steel
    • to make hard and unfeeling: he steeled his heart against her sorrow, he steeled himself for the blow
    http://www.wordreference.com/definition/steel


    to wrest /rɛst/
    vb (transitive)
    to take or force away by violent pulling or twisting
    to seize forcibly by violent or unlawful means
    to obtain by laborious effort
    to distort in meaning, purpose, etc
    http://www.wordreference.com/definition/wrest
     

    Ovidius

    Banned
    Thank you very much, Copyright and Biffo.:)

    It's quite clear now.

    There are some slight differences on the same entry among the dictionaries I own and those on-line ones. But sometimes you just feel hard to pick the final right answer.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Oh, I don't think we were saying "It's right there in the dictionary, just look" -- we know the difficulties of picking the right definition and were just offering pointers. Fortunately, Biffo and I picked the same definitions. :)
     
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