to blister the woodwork

mO_ok

Senior Member
Lithuanian
Hello,

in Alan Hunter's 'Gently by the Shore' I came across this expression that to me sounds a bit like an idiom. I did not succeed in finding its meaning so maybe you can help. Here is the scene - inspector Gently is trying to question a prostitute Frenchy in a bar:

‘Where did you meet him – here or in London?’
‘Who?’ she demanded sullenly.
‘The deceased – the man who was stabbed.’
‘Me!’ she burst out, ‘what have I got to do with it?’
‘I don’t know,’ murmured Gently, ‘I thought perhaps that was what you came across to tell me . . .’
Frenchy riposted with a stream of adjectives that fairly blistered the woodwork.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Not exactly an idiom, but an idea: her language was so strong that it curdled milk, stripped paint off windowsills, curled his hair, etc. (I suppose in this example the varnish on the woodwork is supposed to suffer, not the wood itself.)
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Frenchy riposted with a stream of adjectives that fairly blistered the paint on woodwork.

    If you apply heat to painted woodwork, the paint blisters.

    "Frenchy riposted with a stream of adjectives that fairly blistered the woodwork" can be understood as "the heat of her words blistered the paintwork."
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Frenchy riposted with a stream of adjectives that fairly blistered the paint on woodwork.

    If you apply heat to painted woodwork, the paint blisters.

    "Frenchy riposted with a stream of adjectives that fairly blistered the woodwork" can be understood as "the heat of her words blistered the paintwork."
    My exact interpretation too. I agree.

    A heat gun is often used to remove paint. It softens and blisters the finish which can then easily be scraped off.
     
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