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I'm trying to understand this line to put defeat into every syllable. I suppose it means to insult someone or sort of to humiliate someone through words. Do I correctly understand this line?

The show could’ve gotten one of their other go-to women to perform the line, but no one else had the same ability to put defeat into every syllable. Grau’s voice and delivery perfectly matched the cynical outlook of the show. She played numerous bit parts over the years: a surly coffee shop waitress, a cynical clerk at a casino wedding chapel, a rude worker at the complaint window of an amusement park. Like Lunchlady Doris, they were older women who were trapped in dead end jobs and knew it, exactly the kind of bleak characters The Simpsons reveled in portraying. Grau was a perfect fit, and while she may not have been in every episode, she nailed each biting comeback and breathed life into characters and dialogue that would’ve been left on the cutting room floor of lesser comedies.

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It is figurative language and so is subject to interpretation. But I think that this means that, through her tone of voice and pace of delivery, the actress was able to convey that life had defeated her and left her quite uncaring.

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  • So, in this case "defeat" means hopelessness? Right?
    – user76619
    Oct 12 '19 at 16:47
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    Yes. As always with figurative language, you cannot be absolutely certain that you have got the exact meaning intended by the author (if even the author knew), but in this case the level of doubt is small. Oct 12 '19 at 17:00
  • Yeah, you're right, thanks.
    – user76619
    Oct 12 '19 at 17:07

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