the waxy outline

jacdac

Senior Member
Lebanese
She was still trying to keep hold of the collar. There were a few tatters of clothing. Yellow cotton. And then the waxy outline of a small foot, pale against the black, fibrous peat.
Source: Raven Black by Ann Cleeves
Context: Fran is pulling away the dog, which is barking at the sight of tatters of clothing. It is January time in Ravenswick, Shetland. Snow enshrouds the moors and the hills.

a waxy outline is an outline of soft sticky yellowish substance, right?

Thank you.
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    a waxy outline is an outline of soft sticky yellowish substance, right?
    Probably not. "Waxy" usually refers to texture, but that clearly isn't the case here as Fran hasn't touched the foot. From this short extract, it is not clear it is actually a foot rather than the imprint of a foot that she sees, but "waxy" makes me think it is a foot, and "waxy" refers to the foot rather than the outline, although the outline is all that she can really see. "Waxy" could refer to some translucent quality, but it isn't really clear, not to me at any rate.

    "Waxy" does not mean sticky (wax does not stick), rather it is the way it immediately moulds itself to you that gives it a unique texture.
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    And then the waxy outline of a small foot,
    I am going to assume that the context that you have not given is that a body has been found - at least part of the foot of a body is protruding from the peat.

    A dead body is often said to have a waxy appearance. In this case, "waxy" refers to candle wax and, more precisely to the pale colour of candle wax and also to its texture. If you have seen a dead body, you will understand this pallor.
     
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