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With the earth cut away from his feet, oliver resumed his aimless drift along the continent.

In this sentence, I understand the last clause. But not the first.

The translator said it is "Lose foothold", but I don't understand what it means.

What does "cut away from his feet" mean? Is it a phrase or slang?

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  • More context would help/ What was happening just before the events in the quote? – mdewey Dec 17 '20 at 15:19
  • Did you copy the sentence perfectly? There are errors in it. Did the original author write this or did a translator? – chasly - supports Monica Dec 17 '20 at 17:25
  • @chasly-supportsMonica thank you for youre question! but unfortunately, my book just give me that sentence. thats why i ask here. i thought it`s natural phrase or expresstion – Heisgg Tjsh Dec 18 '20 at 10:30
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It means Oliver's plans were spoilt.

Cut the ground from under someone’s feet— to spoil someone’s plans or achievements by doing something better than them or by doing it before them

Macmillan Dictionary

In the novel, Oliver's life was full of hope as he owned a store and got married. However, things took a turn for the worse as his wife died following his bankruptcy. Oliver was hopeless again and aimlessly wandered the continent.

Though the expression "cut the ground from under (one's) feet" usually needs a competitor to spoil the plans; here, nature was the sole causative agent. Thus, the author used his artistic licence to put a twist on the expression.

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  • @niamubengali thank you for you`re answer! – Heisgg Tjsh Dec 18 '20 at 10:33
  • @heisgg-tjsh You are very much welcome. Please accept the answer if you want to. – niamulbengali Dec 18 '20 at 10:39

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