That was in May. In November a cold, unseen stranger, whom the doctors called Pneumonia, stalked about the colony, touching one here and there with his icy fingers. Over on the east side this ravager strode boldly, smiting his victims by scores, but his feet trod slowly through the maze of the narrow and moss-grown "places.

This passage is from the story named "The last leaf" by O. Henry

Dose "colony" means their society?

In Longman dictionary it is "by the score" that means "in large number" but here in this context it is "by scores" -- is there any difference between them!?

  • 1
    Did you look up the verb to smite in a dictionary? It's probably the phrase by scores that confuses you. Scores means a large number of something. In your case, that would be a large number of people. And who are all those people? They are his victims. So, what it's saying is that he was defeating his victims in large numbers. – Michael Rybkin Apr 19 '18 at 14:08
  • Thanke you very much for your answer. I am so Sorry I didn't look up dictionary carefully. and I didn't know I am not alowed to ask more than one. – Viser Hashemi Apr 19 '18 at 15:15
  • @ViserH - You should always consult a dictionary before you ask what something means here. Moreover, you should even include what you found when you looked in the dictionary. – J.R. Apr 19 '18 at 16:41
  • In longman dictionary it is " by the score" that means " in large number" but here in this context it is " by scores" is there any difference between them!? – Viser Hashemi Apr 19 '18 at 18:09

I’m assuming you can look up the standard definitions of colony and smite, and are really asking about the seemingly odd use of the word score.

A score is 20. Strictly speaking, the claim is that he was smiting them 20 at a time; some might say multiples of 20 at a time due to the plural. But it’s normally taken somewhat more loosely - the claim is simply that he was smiting many of them at a time.

score noun 2 A group or set of twenty or about twenty. ‘Doyle's success brought imitators by the score’ - ODO

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