to educate a great strong lug of man


Senior Member
Hi there,

"Whilst woman poor and friendless robbed of all her rights, oppressed on all sides, civilly, religiously, and socially, must needs go ignorant herself—the idea of such a being working day and night with her needle stitch, stitch, stitch, (for the poor widow always throws in her mite for she is taught to believe that all she gives for the decoration of churches and their black coated gentry is unto the Lord) to educate a great strong lug of man."

Stanton, "Address on Woman's Rights," Speech Text - Voices of Democracy (1848)

I assume that "lug" refers to a clumsy man. But I don't see a complete independent clause with a main verb in. Methinks "the idea" functions as the subject. Yet I don't see a main verb.


  • Orble

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Yes, “lug” does mean “big, clumsy and oafish” with mildly unpleasant implications. It is idiomatically found in “lug of a man”, even in modern usage. For example this is from a movie review:
    Jack Black stars as Dewey Finn, a boorish lug of a man who sleeps all day, never seems to bathe, is incapable of holding a job, and yet, is fully devoted to a life of rock and roll.

    I agree the sentence structure appears incomplete. To paraphrase, leave out some of its description and offer possible endings...

    While this woman is robbed of all her rights and has to remain ignorant herself - the idea such a person is working so hard to educate a great strong lug of a man. (Is bad? Is amazing? Is ironic?)



    Senior Member
    Australian English
    It's an exclamation: "The idea of it!" There's no verb; the sense is that this idea is outlandish or shocking
    I think you’re right Glenfarclas. We expect exclamations like this to be short punchy sentences mind you! The length and complexity of this one obscures it’s nature.
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