Ran into this:

He came to a desk. On it lay a metal paper knife with an ornate handle. Would it be sharp enough? He reached for it and knocked over a small brass jar. Stamps spilled out of it and it fell to the Boor with a clatter. "Hey," Mrs. Barrows yelled from the kitchen, "are you tearing up the pea patch?" Mr. Martin gave a strange laugh. Picking up the knife, he tried its point against his left wrist. It was blunt. It wouldn't do. Source

It is obvious the man has knocked over the jar so made it fall off the desk, the stamps spilled out and the contact between the metal jar and the floor made a clatter, noise. However, What does it fell to the Boor with a clatter mean exactly? I checked the meaning of Boor but apparently here it has another sense other than the normal ones. Is it an idiom or something?

  • 2
    Is there ANY way that it's a typo of "floor"?
    – JMB
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 21:50
  • Other than that, I'm struggling. The fact that it's capitalised is indicative of a product name, or similar. At first, I thought it referred back to Mr. Martin himself, but the capitalisation didn't ring true for that explanation.
    – JMB
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 21:52
  • 3
    @JMB A pal just made the puzzle. It is originally the floor and happened due to an optical character recognition (OCR) error.
    – Juya
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 21:59

1 Answer 1


I believe that's an optical character recognition (OCR) error.

The intended word is "floor" which would look very much like "Boor" on a blurry scan, or if the original text used a ligature between the "f" and "l".

In this case, it is saying that when the object fell to the ground (floor), there was a noise (clatter).

  • 2
    +1 Certainly correct. Google Books returns 8 hits on "fell to the Boor", every one of which is an OCR error. Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 21:54
  • 1
    Wow! you are quite right. I checked it in my printed version of the story. Now should I delete this question? And would you kindly say what it wouldn't do at the end mean? Does it refer to the sharpness of the knife alone?
    – Juya
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 21:58
  • It refers to the sharpness of the knife, but it's "do" meaning "suffice". The knife was not good enough/wouldn't suffice for the job at hand.
    – JMB
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 22:09
  • 1
    "It wouldn't do" implies that the knife needs to be sharp to accomplish whatever Mr. Martin requires it for. We can leave it up to the mods on deletion - it might be helpful to someone else as it sounds like this is a common OCR error.
    – Todd
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 22:15
  • 3
    I wouldn't delete the question. These OCR errors pop up every now and again, and it's good for people to be made aware of them. No need to feel bad about it. As the OCR scanner says: Sh! It happens...
    – J.R.
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 22:29

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