Dream of: 16 March 2012 "Having It Out"

A swarthy friend of mine (in his mid 30s) was sitting across from me at a table. He seemed like a foreigner, perhaps Asian. He spoke excellent English, but his native language wasn't English. As I talked with him, I used the phrase "I had it out" with somebody., and a quizzical look came over the fellow, as if he hadn't understood what I had said. He asked me if I had meant something by the phrase and I answered, "No."

Then I told him that when I talked with him, I generally didn't talk the way I normally talked. I had noticed that I generally talked slower with him and that I used fewer idioms. He was surprised to hear that. When I then began talking a little faster like I would normally talk with someone, he gave me a surprised look. I again used the phrase of "having it out" with someone and he still didn't understand what I meant by the phrase. I tried to explain to him that when you have it out with someone, you usually have a fight with them. Trying to illustrate what "having it out" meant, I also said something about "going down to the corral and having it out with somebody." (I was thinking about the movie Gunfight at the O.K. Corral).

He still didn't understand the phrase. After running the phrase over in my mind several times, I realized it meant to finish up something in a violent way. When I told him that the phrase meant to finish up something in a violent fight with someone, he looked as if he was starting to catch on to what I was saying.

The more I thought about the phrase, the more I could see how difficult it would be for a foreigner to understand it.

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