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I saw a conversation between two native speakers in one of the groups on Discord in which I came across this message that I can't wrap my head around:

A: When John said "I adore you" to me, it went right through me.

"A" is a female and John is her boyfriend. Her boyfriend told her "I adore you" and she brought it up in a group and said "it went right through me".

While looking up the meaning of "go through someone", The Free Dictionary gives 12 meanings for "go through somebody" and none of the meanings seems appropriate to me. The meanings given in Collins Dictionary and Longman Dictionary don't seem apt either.

Does the sentence mean that it pleased me? Or does it have another meaning that I don't know? Can anyone explain it please?

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  • It means it melted me, made me weak in the knees.
    – Void
    Commented Apr 5, 2021 at 10:12
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    This is a good question. I'd think it meant had no effect on me, but it seems that wasn't the intent at all. Commented Apr 5, 2021 at 14:24
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    This is an extremely ambiguous expression. Depending on context you have to guess whether it means "it affected me profoundly" or "it barely affected me at all". The important question is: should "through me" be interpreted as "into me" or "in and out of me".
    – Stef
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 10:26

2 Answers 2

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This question is about interpretation, which always allows for different opinions.

It is likely that the speaker means that she reacted physically to John's words. They might have made her shiver or quiver with emotion, or tense up or blush.

It is also possible, but less likely, that she means the words made no impact on her whatsoever, that they went in one ear and out of the other. But unless A explains exactly what she meant, we will never really know.

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We can sometimes say that an event 'goes right through us' when it causes a very strong emotion - surprise, shock, alarm, joy, pity, etc, which may even cause physical symptoms (shivering, cold feeling, increased heartbeat). There is a comparison with penetration such as by a knife, which also affects the body strongly.

A 'jar' can be a shock or sudden surprise:

jar noun

1: JOLT entry 2 sense 1 They felt the jar of the plane landing.

2: SHOCK entry 2 sense 1 … the sound of his voice went through me with a jar. — Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped

Jar (Merriam Webster)

A feeling of helpless pity went through me as he sank to his knees in hysterical imploration, but I steeled myself against him.

THE HOMICIDAL DIARY EARL PEIRCE

Thesaurus.com

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