The cub's brains had been licked out

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Emma59

Senior Member
French
Hi !

I am currently trying to translate a novel (Walking Out) and there’s a passage that I’m not sure I understand properly:
“the top of its head had been shorn away, and the cub's brains had been licked out”
“it” refers to a cub that’s been killed by another bear. What does “licked out” mean in this context? Does it mean that the cub’s body has been thrashed so violently that his brain got dislogded from its body of does is simply mean that the bear ate his brain and licked the interior of the head?


Thanks for your help !
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It sounds as though the bear licked out the brains from the skull to eat them, or possibly another animal came along and licked the skull clean. I don't see any other possible interpretation.

    Please tell us the name of the writer of "Walking Out".
     

    Emma59

    Senior Member
    French
    The author's David Quammen ! (and the novel is great, really !) Thank you for your help. The first suggestion I wrote came from an American guy who thought that was a very literary term so I had doubts on the meaning of the sentence.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    It sounds pretty straightforward to me - so, no, not "literary" at all. If the top of the cub's head had been literally shorn away, then I don't see why some other creature couldn't literally lick its brains out of its head.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    As sure as I can be having read only one sentence, yes. :) Honestly, I don't see how it could be interpreted any other way. But if there is something that makes you think it might be literary, let us know and we'll try again. While licked has at least a couple of meanings, licked out means "licked out with a tongue." That is the only meaning that I am aware of.
     
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