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M_rudky
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Hi All,

Would anyone tell me the meaning of the idiom "As the train gathered speed"?

Thanks in advance

Yours trully rudky
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Cybercypher
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[email protected] (M_RUDKY) burbled news:[email protected]:

[q1]> Hi All,[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Would anyone tell me the meaning of the idiom "As the train gathered speed"?[/q1]

"to gather speed" means "to go faster".

--
Franke
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Einde O'Callagh
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CyberCypher wrote:
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> [email protected] (M_RUDKY) burbled news:[email protected]:[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > Hi All,[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > Would anyone tell me the meaning of the idiom "As the train gathered speed"?[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> "to gather speed" means "to go faster".[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
I'd just like to point out that the phrase isn't really an idiom, i.e. a standard phrase - or if it
is I've never come across it. It simply means what it literally says.

Regards, Einde O'Callaghan
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Cybercypher
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Einde O'Callaghan <[email protected]> burbled
news:[email protected]:

[q1]> CyberCypher wrote:[/q1]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> [email protected] (M_RUDKY) burbled news:[email protected]:[/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> > Hi All,[/q2]
[q2]>> >[/q2]
[q2]>> > Would anyone tell me the meaning of the idiom "As the train gathered speed"?[/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> "to gather speed" means "to go faster".[/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q1]> I'd just like to point out that the phrase isn't really an idiom,[/q1]
[q1]> i.e. a standard phrase - or if it is I've never come across it. It simply means what it literally[/q1]
[q1]> says.[/q1]

If you did not know what it meant, you would not be able to derive the meaning from the components.
"to gather flowers" is not an idiom, but "to gather speed" is. "speed" is an intangible thing that
cannot be gathered in the same way very tangible flowers can. "to gather" literally means "to
accumulate", which is what Bob Dylan meant by the phrase "to gather flowers constantly" in his
anti-love song "It Ain't Me, Babe". A train cannot "accumulate speed" but only "go faster and
faster", which is what the idiom "to gather speed" means.

It may not be an idiom in BrE, but it is quite standard and idiomatic in AmE.

--
Franke
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Einde O'Callagh
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CyberCypher wrote:
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Einde O'Callaghan <[email protected]> burbled[/q1]
[q1]> news:[email protected]:[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > CyberCypher wrote:[/q2]
[q2]> >>[/q2]
[q2]> >> [email protected] (M_RUDKY) burbled news:[email protected]:[/q2]
[q2]> >>[/q2]
[q2]> >> > Hi All,[/q2]
[q2]> >> >[/q2]
[q2]> >> > Would anyone tell me the meaning of the idiom "As the train gathered speed"?[/q2]
[q2]> >>[/q2]
[q2]> >> "to gather speed" means "to go faster".[/q2]
[q2]> >>[/q2]
[q2]> > I'd just like to point out that the phrase isn't really an idiom,[/q2]
[q2]> > i.e. a standard phrase - or if it is I've never come across it. It simply means what it[/q2]
[q2]> > literally says.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> If you did not know what it meant, you would not be able to derive the meaning from the[/q1]
[q1]> components. "to gather flowers" is not an idiom, but "to gather speed" is. "speed" is an[/q1]
[q1]> intangible thing that cannot be gathered in the same way very tangible flowers can. "to gather"[/q1]
[q1]> literally means "to accumulate", which is what Bob Dylan meant by the phrase "to gather flowers[/q1]
[q1]> constantly" in his anti-love song "It Ain't Me, Babe". A train cannot "accumulate speed" but only[/q1]
[q1]> "go faster and faster", which is what the idiom "to gather speed" means.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> It may not be an idiom in BrE, but it is quite standard and idiomatic in AmE.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
I personally think a train *can* accumulate speed. It is a fairly standard phrase but I don't feel
that it is purely idomatic. In physics it's fairly common to talk of things accumulating energy -
and speed is a form of energy. That is why I don't think of it as an idiomatic phrase
- it can be understood literally from the components.

Regards, Einde O'Callaghan
0
Cybercypher
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Einde O'Callaghan wrote:

[...]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I personally think a train *can* accumulate speed. It is a fairly[/q1]

Now you've changed the word from the original "gather" to "accumulate".

[q1]> standard phrase but I don't feel that it is purely idomatic. In physics it's fairly common to talk[/q1]
[q1]> of things accumulating energy - and speed is a form of energy.[/q1]

"energy [W3NID]: 5 : an entity rated as the most fundamental of all physical concepts and usually
regarded as the equivalent of or the capacity for doing work either being associated with material
bodies (as a coiled spring or speeding train) or having an existence independent of matter (as light
or X rays traversing a vacuum), its physical dimensions being the same as those of work ML2/T2 where
M is mass, L length, and T time, [and 2 = squared] usually being expressed in work units (as
foot-pounds or ergs), and in any form being endowed with the properties of mass (as inertia,
momentum, gravitation) by relativity which assigns to the energy E an equivalent mass m by the
equation m=E/c2 where c is the speed of light.

"accelerate" [W3NID]: 1 a : to become faster : move faster : gain speed *a pace that neither
accelerates nor lags* b : to increase in number or amount *the number of newspapers accelerated* c :
to open the throttle or accelerator *the driver accelerated gradually on the highway*

"Acceleration: Acceleration is defined as the change in velocity over time. This is also one of the
concepts that people new to physics have a trouble grasping initially. Any time an object's velocity
is changing, we say that the object is accelerating. This brings up an important point. In common
language, when things speed up, we say that they are 'accelerating', and, when they slow down, we
say that they are 'decelerating'. However, in the language of physics, we say that both objects are
accelerating, not because both objects are speeding up, but because both objects have changing
velocities. This can be a confusing point at first. When I am using the word 'accelerating' in terms
of the common definition of the word, I will put it in quotes. For the physics definition, I will
not use quotation marks.

"Finally, there is one more warning I'd like to offer about the definition of acceleration. Since
acceleration involves a change in velocity, an object might be accelerating even though its speed is
constant. Why is this possible? Well, it goes back to the difference between speed and velocity.
Remember that velocity involves both speed and direction. So, a changing velocity does not have to
necessarily involve a change in speed. It could just involve a change in direction.

"For example, consider a car moving at a constant speed of 55 mph while turning in a circle. The
car's velocity is not constant, even though the speed is constant. This is because the direction of
motion is constantly changing while the car is turning. Since the direction is changing, even though
the speed is not, the velocity is changing. (Remember, the velocity involves both speed and
direction.) As a result, the car is accelerating, even though it is neither speeding up or slowing
down. The car is accelerating because its velocity is changing."

http://physics.webplasma.com/physics01.html#speed

[q1]> That is why I don't think of it as an idiomatic phrase[/q1]
[q1]> - it can be understood literally from the components.[/q1]

"speed" [W3NID}: b : rate of motion *a heavy person who moved at a glacial speed* *drove at a
reckless speed*; specifically : rate of motion irrespective of direction : the magnitude of velocity
expressed as a particular relationship *the car maintained a speed of 150 miles per hour* *a record
made to be played at a speed of 33 1/3 revolutions per minute* c : capacity or power of motion *put
all his speed into the attempt to reach the ball before it hit the ground* d : MOMENTUM

It's a metaphor. So much of what we say in English is metaphorical.

[q1]> - and speed is a form of energy.[/q1]

"1. Some Definitions"

"Speed "Speed describes how fast something is moving."

http://physics.webplasma.com/physics01.html#speed

"speed" is the expression of the energy being used at a particular rate at a given moment. Speed
should also be the expression of the release of energy; it is also the rate of motion. Speed is only
one manifestation of energy; heat is another form of energy.

It makes more sense to say "As the train accelerated" than "As the train gathered speed". Whence
does it gather this "speed"? There is nowhere on the train or in the atmosphere that contains
"speed", only the fuel, the train's source of energy -- wood, coal, diesel fuel, electricity, even
inertia (mass) when considering a runaway train without an operating engine being pulled downhill
by gravity.

"to gather speed" (a metaphor and an idiom) = "to accelerate" (not a metaphor and not an idiom)
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John Ramsay
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#7
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Einde O'Callaghan wrote:

[q1]> CyberCypher wrote:[/q1]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > Einde O'Callaghan <[email protected]> burbled[/q2]
[q2]> > news:[email protected]:[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q3]> > > CyberCypher wrote:[/q3]
[q3]> > >>[/q3]
[q3]> > >> [email protected] (M_RUDKY) burbled news:[email protected]:[/q3]
[q3]> > >>[/q3]
[q3]> > >> > Hi All,[/q3]
[q3]> > >> >[/q3]
[q3]> > >> > Would anyone tell me the meaning of the idiom "As the train gathered speed"?[/q3]
[q3]> > >>[/q3]
[q3]> > >> "to gather speed" means "to go faster".[/q3]
[q3]> > >>[/q3]
[q3]> > > I'd just like to point out that the phrase isn't really an idiom,[/q3]
[q3]> > > i.e. a standard phrase - or if it is I've never come across it. It simply means what it[/q3]
[q3]> > > literally says.[/q3]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > If you did not know what it meant, you would not be able to derive the meaning from the[/q2]
[q2]> > components. "to gather flowers" is not an idiom, but "to gather speed" is. "speed" is an[/q2]
[q2]> > intangible thing that cannot be gathered in the same way very tangible flowers can. "to gather"[/q2]
[q2]> > literally means "to accumulate", which is what Bob Dylan meant by the phrase "to gather flowers[/q2]
[q2]> > constantly" in his anti-love song "It Ain't Me, Babe". A train cannot "accumulate speed" but[/q2]
[q2]> > only "go faster and faster", which is what the idiom "to gather speed" means.[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > It may not be an idiom in BrE, but it is quite standard and idiomatic in AmE.[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q1]> I personally think a train *can* accumulate speed. It is a fairly standard phrase but I don't feel[/q1]
[q1]> that it is purely idomatic. In physics it's fairly common to talk of things accumulating energy -[/q1]
[q1]> and speed is a form of energy. That is why I don't think of it as an idiomatic phrase[/q1]
[q1]> - it can be understood literally from the components.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Regards, Einde O'Callaghan[/q1]

Two pb US dictionaries, Random House and Funk & Wagnall, define 'gather' as 'to increase'.

The Pocket Oxford defines 'gather' as 'accumulate' and 'accumulate' as 'to get more'.

Obviously 'to gather speed' is a literal, non-idiomatic phrase, in both UK and US.
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Einde O'Callagh
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CyberCypher wrote:
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Einde O'Callaghan wrote:[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> [...][/q1]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > I personally think a train *can* accumulate speed. It is a fairly[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Now you've changed the word from the original "gather" to "accumulate".[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
Because for me "gather" and "accumulate" are more or less synonyms. I should have made this clear.

<snip>
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> "to gather speed" (a metaphor and an idiom) = "to accelerate" (not a metaphor and not an idiom)[/q1]

On further reflection perhaps you are right. I've just attempted to translate the phrase into German
and it doesn't quite work literally. Although I can't recall any German-speaking students ever
having any problem with the concept.

It's funny. I had never considered this to be an idiom. Our speech is so full of them that we are
often unaware of them, even when we try to be conscious of these factors because, of course, they
have an effect on our teaching.

Regards, Einde O'Callaghan
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Cybercypher
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Einde O'Callaghan <[email protected]> burbled
news:[email protected]:

[q1]> CyberCypher wrote:[/q1]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> Einde O'Callaghan wrote:[/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> [...][/q2]
[q2]>> >[/q2]
[q2]>> > I personally think a train *can* accumulate speed. It is a fairly[/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> Now you've changed the word from the original "gather" to "accumulate".[/q2]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q1]> Because for me "gather" and "accumulate" are more or less synonyms. I should have made this clear.[/q1]

Sure, in certain contexts they are, but not always.

"Come *gather* round, people, wherever you roam and admit that the waters around you have grown and
accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone If your time be worth, worth saving then you'd
better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin'"

Not here.

[q1]> <snip>[/q1]
[q2]>>[/q2]
[q2]>> "to gather speed" (a metaphor and an idiom) = "to accelerate" (not a metaphor and not an idiom)[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> On further reflection perhaps you are right. I've just attempted to translate the phrase into[/q1]
[q1]> German and it doesn't quite work literally. Although I can't recall any German-speaking students[/q1]
[q1]> ever having any problem with the concept.[/q1]

Some idioms are clearer than others, but anyone doing a literal translation from English to Chinese
or Japanese, say, would have a problem.

[q1]> It's funny. I had never considered this to be an idiom. Our speech is so full of them that we are[/q1]
[q1]> often unaware of them, even when we try to be conscious of these factors because, of course, they[/q1]
[q1]> have an effect on our teaching.[/q1]

It's true. Some of our simplest expressions are idioms, eg "Shut up!".

--
Franke
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