"I have heard Dad talking about him," said George. "He(Lucius Malfoy) was a big supporter of You-Know-Who."

"And when You-Know-Who disappeared," said Fred, craning around to look at Harry, "Lucius Malfoy came back saying he'd never meant any of it. Load of dung - Dad reckons he was right in You-Know-Who's inner circle."

I have no idea what "he'd never meant any of it" means in this context? Is it an idiom? But I can't find it anywhere. Maybe, I don't know what "meant any of it" refers to.

-- Excerpted from Harry Potter.

  • could you share what particular about the sentence trips you up? "He came back saying he had never done X." - Is that as intractable, or is the hard part the 'any', or what?
    – bukwyrm
    Oct 23, 2018 at 12:23
  • @bukwyrm, maybe, I don't know what "meant any of it" refers to. Originally, I simply have no idea why Fred said it. I just added it into my question.
    – dan
    Oct 23, 2018 at 12:29

1 Answer 1


"He'd never meant any of it" in this context means that "he" is retracting what he previously said.

It seems that prior to the disappearance of You-Know-Who, Lucius Malfoy was vocally supportive of him; but after You-Know-Who disappeared, Lucius Malfoy claimed that he had not really meant the supportive things he had said.

  • 1
    perhaps the meaning of 'to mean sth.' is unclear - you might want to add it explicitly to your answer. I.e. 'to say something and mean it' > Saying something that includes either a belief that is dearly held, or a set of actions that the speaker is prepared to execute.
    – bukwyrm
    Oct 23, 2018 at 12:57
  • He's not really retracting his words. Rather, he's saying that he was not being genuine or sincere when he said them.
    – TimR
    Oct 23, 2018 at 18:17
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo Is a retraction not taking back one's words? Anyway, in this case, the narrator believes it is the retraction that is insincere. He goes on to say that his father thought the retraction was a "load of dung" and that Lucius was in You Know Who's inner circle. If it weren't for that detail then you might be right.
    – Astralbee
    Oct 23, 2018 at 19:26
  • "Lucius Malfoy came back saying he'd never meant any of it." is a report of what Malfoy was saying. What is being reported is that Malfoy was claiming that he had not been sincere when he said those words. He's not retracting his words. That would require an admission that he had been wrong to say them. Rather, he's saying that he wasn't sincere when he spoke them.
    – TimR
    Oct 23, 2018 at 19:32
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo Yes, Lucius is claiming he wasn't sincere when he spoke the words (of support) originally, but the narrator's father believed that it was the retraction, not the original words, that was insincere.
    – Astralbee
    Oct 23, 2018 at 19:43

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .