First-year students will require:
1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)
2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

Is ‘or similar’ an idiom or is there an omission like ‘one’ after similar?

  • I think the one part is implicit in spoken English. – Mistu4u Oct 8 '13 at 13:12
  • 3
    I'd say the implied word is material, not one, but you have the right idea. You see this construct a lot where brevity is valued, such as in directions or lists. As one blogger wrote: the recipes are already in a convenient Word (or similar) document. – J.R. Oct 8 '13 at 14:15

A more complete phrase would be something like:

One pair of protective gloves (made from dragon hide or something similar to dragon hide).

The omitted words are implied, as it presents a cleaner, less repetitive structure.

| improve this answer | |
  • 5
    Yes. It's worth noting that exactly the same deletion is often made with dragon hide or [something] equivalent [to dragon hide]. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Oct 8 '13 at 13:40

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