0

Although i know meaning of each word one by one in this sentence in Mark Twain's short story "About Barbers" I cannot understand what is "to litter" and "foul center-table" in the context.

Thanks for your help!

Finally, I searched out the least dilapidated of last year's illustrated papers that littered the foul center-table, and conned their unjustifiable misrepresentations of old forgotten events.

1
3

Lexico defines "litter" (vb.) as "Make (a place or area) untidy with rubbish or a large number of objects left lying about", e.g. ‘clothes and newspapers littered the floor’.

In this case, illustrated newspapers litter the centre-table ("any table placed in the centre of a room").

Presumably, the centre-table is described as foul because it is dirty or messy.

1

These are straight from the dictionary:

litter make (a place or area) untidy with rubbish or a large number of objects left lying about.

"clothes and newspapers littered the floor"

So there are a large number of "illustrated papers" (Cheap newspapers with pictures, in contrast to the more serious newspapers that were all text) scattered at random on the table.

foul repulsive or disgusting.

The table in the centre of the room was disgusting in some way, probably it hasn't been cleaned, and as this a barbershop there might be shaving cream, hair, perhaps blood on the table.

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