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eat one’s enemies Options
onsen
Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 10:49:54 PM
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Hello,

Practice is like custom but is often derog: the practice of eating one’s enemies.
(Longman Dictionary of American English)

What does 'eat one’s enemies' mean?

Does it mean cannibalism?


Thank you
mactoria
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 1:07:58 AM
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Onsen: To "eat your enemies" doesn't literally refer to cannibalism of your enemies. Instead, people use the phrase to convey the act of disabling, blocking, exposing, or otherwise severely damaging your enemy/foe. It's a fairly old idiom, quite vivid in conveying a person's intention to aggressively deal with a person's enemies.
thar
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 2:13:15 AM

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I take it literally.
It is a definition of a practice. Cannibalism is a practice.
Eating one's enemies is a practice.
If you want to make it a metaphor, fine. But I don't think you have to restrict it to that.

Either way, start with the literal meaning - you have enemies. You eat them.
You fight them, capture them, kill them and eat their bodies.
It has advantages - your enemy is gone; you take their strength and spirit; other people are more careful about becoming your enemy. And you get a free meal. Win win win win. Whistle


Then there is the metaphorical meaning.....same thing.

onsen
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 3:45:27 AM
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thar wrote:
I take it literally.



I just did a Google search and found that the phrase is used literally.

CHRONICLES OF AN ANTHROPOLGY NERD
What's Eating You?
… omitted …
Reasons for Practicing
… omitted …
The eating of the enemies’ flesh marked the victim as being "sub-human" and made the enemies meat equivalent to the meat of animals (Conklin 1997).
… omitted …
Clastres and another anthropologist Kim Hill both noted that cannibalism was a regular practice within the Guayaki especially the Ache who dwelled in the forest. For the Ache the eating of their enemies had a more practical application; they were simply eaten for nutritional purposes. Hill writes this about the Ache:
… omitted …
(marked dark red by the contributor)

http://anthrobum.blogspot.jp/2012/06/whats-eating-you.html



Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 5:16:57 AM

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What on Earth is derog?


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 5:20:08 AM

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Derogatory . . .

One of Longman's abbreviations.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 5:23:09 AM

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Thanks, Drag0n. I thought it was some creature from Tolkien's tales ;-)


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 5:31:01 AM

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Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 7:47:37 AM
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I, like Thar, saw it as literal. I spent my formative years in a country where cannibalism had only recently stopped because of a disease called The Laughing Sickness. Many victims of this disease (where the mouth is pulled into a rictus that approximates smiling)were people I brushed by in the street on a daily basis.

So I was surprised when Mactoria said it was a phrase used in AE in a non-literal way. I've not come across it. But then, again, had I done so, I expect I would have taken that as literal too!Think

I think, if it's a popular saying, people should be careful, when travelling, about when and where they say it!!Whistle
Eoin Riedy
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 6:59:46 PM

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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Local eating and drinking establishment:

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 6:16:02 AM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 27,115
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom

A related idea from Grace Slick (click on the picture to hear her siong it)



What if you were
Starving to death and
They only food you had
Was me - what would
You say to the cannibal
Question? Would your
Answer be perfectly
Free?


Jefferson Airplane - written by Grace Slick - Silver Spoon


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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