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Haze by Tessa Violet is a deep pop-folk piece that combines the struggle of someone who tries to honestly share their internal desires in a shallow society and the struggle to actually fully percieve the world with your all senses.

It starts with a quick retrospection on the apparently full life she lead before

I used to be

Overwhelmed by every little thing

Torn apart, unraveled at the seams

I think it rooted in the way I breathe

and continues describing the depressing circle of hedonism she fell into after that

And I get drunk

On a boy who asks me if I'm up

Tells me he can't understand his luck

To know me

To love me

To hold me

Show up

and the mask of a perfect woman she can afford to wear with her popularity

I'll be your empathetic savior

Call me up, I'll meet you later

You canpraise me for the way I always know just what to say

I'll carve into your ribs and leave you crying for a kiss

Just for kicks

Now, is she actually saying she would carve into your ribs (like a wood) or is there an idiom "carve in" I would imagine to mean something like "to dive in and root there"?

We have this idiom in Czech but I wasn't able to find it in any dictionary. Is there an idiom with this meaning? Thank you!

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  • carve into is not an idiom. It refers to an act of cutting. We can "carve into a turkey" or a mining machine can "carve into a mountain". It can be used figuratively to mean "to begin something in earnest, to commence". "We have a lot of work ahead of us. We might as well carve into it today." We might as well get to doing it. Sep 23, 2017 at 10:17
  • It seems a dark play on "snuggle into your side", domestic, comfortable snuggle replaced by painful carve. Sep 23, 2017 at 10:24
  • If you're looking for a counterpart idiom for a Czech idiom, it might help if you gave us a sentence or two (in English translation) where the Czech idiom is used. However, it is rather a stretch to say that "the question is widely applicable to a large audience" :) Oct 2, 2017 at 18:40
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    That last example (engrave you) is not the same. The first two are reflexives or mediopassives, the last a transitive, similar to write. In English, we would say "if you want it to be carved into your memory" Oct 5, 2017 at 22:02
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    You can say that, and I think you would be understood, but it's a somewhat idiosyncratic way of expressing the idea. Far more common would be ingrained. "Anthropomorphism is ingrained into the way we think and talk about science." Not recommending the locution, just pointing it out. google.com/… Oct 7, 2017 at 12:40

2 Answers 2

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It certainly is not a common phrase. Physically, ribs are the protection for the heart. "Carve into your ribs" could mean forcefully accessing the heart.

However, the context is about feelings. So I would understand it as a metaphor for, "I'll make you fall in love with me", which would make sense, given the following phrase: "and leave you crying for a kiss".

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It could perhaps be related to the common phrase "dig/poke someone in the ribs", meaning a momentary, somewhat painful, action to forcefully draw someone's attention.

By extension then "carve into your ribs" suggests a permanent drawing of someone's attention.

In this context the 'pain' is not so much physical but emotional, amplified by the following phrase "and leave you crying for a kiss".

Hence the line as a whole suggests she has the power to captivate the guy and leave him desperate for more - though she might be doing it "just for kicks"!

Exquisite writing in my opinion, and also very dark!

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  • Hi, welcome to ELL! Nice answer.
    – Eddie Kal
    Nov 20, 2020 at 17:02

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