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Can you please help me with the meaning of the bolded sentence in this text:

One of them was how every book seemed to talk about the woman in the story. It was weird, if you thought about it: they all called the ladies “indescribably beautiful,” and then went on to try to describe them anyway. Well, Sofia was not that. She went so far beyond that, she circled right back around to describably beautiful."

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    It's a metaphor based on the idea that if you go far enough around a globe, you arrive back where you started. – Ronald Sole Sep 13 at 12:47
  • @nikoo Did you mean write "back around to indescribably beautiful"? – Jack O'Flaherty Sep 13 at 13:24
  • Just because it's syntactically possible to string words together in certain patterns doesn't imply all patterns actually make sense. Your cited text sounds potentially "deep", but actually it's just nonsense. It's like me saying the text is so far beyond stupid that it actually makes sense (a superficially convincing way of juggling with words to say something deeply philosophical, but actually it's senseless drivel). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Sep 13 at 13:53
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As @Ronald Sole says, it's a metaphor. However the phrase doesn't have to be.

Example

I waved goodbye to my wife and she drove off down the road. To my surprise she circled right back around the block and parked in front of the house. She had forgotten her reading glasses!

Your original sentence could be expressed in various shorter forms, e.g.

She went so far beyond that, she circled right back around to describably beautiful."

She went so far beyond that, she circled back around to describably beautiful."

She went so far beyond that, she circled around to describably beautiful."


People can circle around the globe or a table or pretty much any object in real life. The metaphor doesn't explain what she circles around - presumably it is some scale of beauty. beautiful, very beautiful, extremely beautiful, indescribably beautiful etc.

There is no such scale but we can imagine one.

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  • You can imagine a "circular" scale of "beauty", such that if you keep going further beyond beauty in one direction, or ugliness in the other, you'll end up with the opposite attribute? I certainly can't. I think that whole idea comes from a misguided attempt to draw a metaphorical parallel between circumnavigating the globe and going beyond the bounds of some "semantic cline / gradient". – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Sep 13 at 16:47
  • @FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica - I agree. The idea doesn't stand up to scrutiny. It sounds like an ill-considered offhand remark. – chasly - supports Monica Sep 13 at 16:56
  • "There is no such scale, but unless we actually try to think it though, we might be easily misled into thinking that we can imagine one" :) – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Sep 13 at 17:02

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