wear

chenlizhou

New Member
Chinese
"In those far-off days, it was taken for granted that the critics of major papers would write in detail and at length about the events they covered. Theirs was a serious business, and even those reviewers who wore their learning lightly, like George Bernard Shaw and Ernest Newman, could be trusted to know what they were about. "
What does "wore their learning lightly" mean?
 
  • Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    "In those far-off days, it was taken for granted that the critics of major papers would write in detail and at length about the events they covered. Theirs was a serious business, and even those reviewers who wore their learning lightly, like George Bernard Shaw and Ernest Newman, could be trusted to know what they were about. "
    What does "wore their learning lightly" mean?
    It's quite odd to me but the only thing I can think about was, that they didn't show to the public how well educated they are, they 'wore' (presented to people), their 'learning' (education), 'lightly' (not a lot).

    But I can't be sure if that's the intended meaning, but it's the only thing I can think of.
     

    chenlizhou

    New Member
    Chinese
    Sorry, I do not know who the author is. The sentences are taken from a text in the English Examination for China's National Graduate School Admission. I could not find the proper explanation in any dictionary, online or otherwise. My guess is that "reviewers like Shaw use their knowledge with ease". But I want to be sure.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Sorry, I do not know who the author is. The sentences are taken from a text in the English Examination for China's National Graduate School Admission. I could not find the proper explanation in any dictionary, online or otherwise. My guess is that "reviewers like Shaw use their knowledge with ease". But I want to be sure.
    Thanks for the information, Chen. I agree with you. The phrase means that reviewers like Shaw don't take themselves too seriously, and that although they are educated, they aren't pedantic in their replies.
     

    chenlizhou

    New Member
    Chinese
    Thanks to all you guys. I have been thinking about the phrase since last evening. I have some new thoughts here: Writing reviews was a serious business. Even those who were learned but didn't hold their own knowledge in high regard took reviewing seriously. "wore" means "regard or treat", and "lightly" means "with contempt or not seriouly". Hope you could correct me if I am wrong.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think it is a clothing metaphor. The reviewers' learning was like an expensive coat that they wore. They did not wear so as to show it off to its best advantage. They wore it as if it were not there.
     
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