steep yourself in every social-protest novel

Couch Tomato

Senior Member
Russian & Dutch
The youngster who reads voraciously, though indiscriminately, does not necessarily gain in wisdom over the teenager who is more selective in his reading choices. A young man who has read the life story of every eminent athlete of the twentieth century, or a coed who has steeped herself in every social-protest novel she can get her hands on, may very well be learning all there is to know in a very limited area.
(1100 Words You Need to Know - Murray Bromberg & Melvin Gordon)

1 be steeped in history/tradition/politics etc to have a lot of a particular quality : a town steeped in history
(Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English)

2 (usu. be steeped in) fill or imbue with a particular quality or influence
(Concise Oxford English Dictionary)

In one of my previous threads, I asked about steeped in schoolwork which according to you was odd. I'm having the feeling that the authors of this book are again misuing the word "steep". Am I right or does this work on a metaphorical level?

Thank you in advance.
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    That particular use of steep works fine for me, Couch. For me there's a big difference between be steeped in something and steep oneself in something. In the latter the metaphor is much more 'alive': I can ~ more or less ~ imagine those coeds literally lying down in bathfuls of social protest novels and allowing their bodies (well, brains, I suppose) to absorb the contents. Be steeped in history (e.g.) is much more a 'dead' metaphor ~ one in which the literal meaning has pretty much vanished. Is this making any sense?

    Couch Tomato

    Senior Member
    Russian & Dutch
    Thank you, ewie.

    For me there's a big difference between be steeped in something and steep oneself in something.
    That explains it. So the problem of 'My cousin is so steeped in schoolwork that his friends call him a bookworm' wasn't really about the combination of "steep" and "schoolwork", but rather "be steeped in schoolwork". So I presume that I steeped myself in schoolwork is fine then.
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