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I'm not native speaker and now I'm translating a book about women for a male client, named "The Manual: What Women Want and How to Give It to Them". But my client is very picky, so I must translate very correctly. I will give my translation to my client tomorrow, but meet a confusing paragraph. Here is paragraph:

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I've searched for the meaning on Internet and found that "meaner" means "someone who isn't being nice to you, pest", but I don't know whether it is correct in this paragraph. Can you explain it to me?

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, Glorfindel, Lamplighter, LMS, Nathan Tuggy Jan 5 '17 at 19:36

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    I've never heard meaner being used as a noun with the sense of someone who is mean, but surely while you were searching the Internet you must have noticed the base / comparative / superlative forms mean, meaner, meanest (same as nasty, nastier, nastiest, which would have been equivalent in your context). I think this is "Too Basic", even for ELL. – FumbleFingers Jan 5 '17 at 16:54
  • @FumbleFingers - I wondered if the OP got meaner confused with meanie, a slang term for someone who is mean. – J.R. Jan 5 '17 at 18:05
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'Meaner' here implies being 'cruel', but more cruel than if she had just made it clear that she wasn't interested.

The suffix 'er' specifies that the second action is more cruel.

The reason for the passage in psychological terms is that many, at least on the surface, prefer direct honesty over polite dishonesty. They would rather be shown the respect of a direct refusal, than being lied to, which is why the paragraph describes the action as 'meaner'.

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    I'd be more inclined to upvote this answer if you explained why it's considered more cruel to be "polite" than to be direct. As it stands now, this seems more like a clarifying comment than an answer. – J.R. Jan 5 '17 at 16:03
  • Edited. Any better? – Canadian Coder Jan 5 '17 at 16:08
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    @mcraen He's probably referring to the fact that by not being upfront in the first place, expectations are unnecessarily raised which creates greater disappointment in the end than if "no" was said in the first place. – Peter Jan 5 '17 at 19:38

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