to hang up by the thumbs

gorgone

New Member
Italy italian
Hello, I'd like to know what "I have been hung up by the thumbs for weeks" stands for. Pheraps it's similar to "to have one's hands tied" or "to keep someone in suspense" but I'm not sure.
Thanks, Bye
 
  • gorgone

    New Member
    Italy italian
    Uno scambio epistolare di un americano degli anni '20. Era al verde e chiedeva un prestito e ritardavano nel dargli denaro.
    Grazie
     

    shamblesuk

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Figurativamente 'to have your hands tied' avrebbe senso, ma a dire il vero quello che hai scritto non è una frase che ho mai sentito parlare prima.

    Forse è AE?

    Lee
     

    Saoul

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Letteralmente è "stato appeso per i pollici". Credo che abbia usato un'espressione non standart, ma di sua invenzione, per dire che aveva dei problemi economici, o che comunque era in una posizione molto scomoda per settimane.

    Quello che ci dice Lee, mi sembra confermare che non esista una set phrase del tipo "to be hung by the thumbs".
     

    GavinW

    Senior Member
    British English
    I instantly recognized this as a reference to a form of torture, albeit a rather creative one. I believe the writer was saying that he has been tortured, "placed on the rack", or hung by a certain part of his anatomy (his thumbs, rather than his hands or arms, to cause greater pain to the victim), presumably as a form of punishment (for non-payment?). Unfortunately, without more context, it's hard to be 100% sure, though...

    PS: Ciao Saoul. Non ti scordare le preposizioni! In inglese si dice sempre (e solo) "Welcome to..."! ;-)
     

    Necsus

    Senior Member
    Italian (Italy)
    Appendere per i pollici è un tipo di tortura, a quanto pare ancora praticata... Dal sito di Amnesty International:
    Torture and ill-treatment were widespread. Reported methods of torture included being hung upside down by the ankles or being hung by the thumbs, beatings with cricket bats, whipping with chains, near-suffocation with plastic bags filled with petrol and chillies, and rape of female detainees.

    There is also a site where you can see some photos about this torture, but I don't know if it's right to provide the link here, and I not recommend to do it.

    Ops. Sorry, Gavin. I didn't see your post...
     

    Scopa Nuova

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Uno scambio epistolare di un americano degli anni '20. Era al verde e chiedeva un prestito e ritardavano nel dargli denaro.
    Grazie

    Welcome to the Forum gorgone. Given this context the expression "I have been hung up by the thumbs for weeks" could be referring to the closing comment that two American comedians used to close their weekly Radio comedy show back in the 1950s. It was the Bob and Ray show. At the end of each show, One would say "Write if you get work" and the response would be "Hang by your thumbs".

    The meaning or sense of the "Hang by your thumbs" response was "Its going to be a long time before I get work so don't hold your breath" or "you will be waiting in suspense before you hear from me getting work".

    In your case it could be referring to waiting in suspense broke (with no money) for a long time to get the loan which was being delayed.

    Comunque, questo é una spiegazione a considerare.

    Ciao,

    Scopa Nuova;)
     

    gorgone

    New Member
    Italy italian
    Grazie alla fine credo che il corrispettivo di "I have been hung up by the thumbs for weeks" potrebbe essere " Mi hanno torturato, tenendomi in sospeso per settimane".
    Grazie ancora
    Ciao
     
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