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‘‘I didn’t much know, and I didn’t much care what was going on. The row of that trooper falling ought to have scared half the country, and I would take my oath that we were being stalked by a full regiment in the rear, and they were making row enough to rouse all Afghanistan. I sat tight, but nothing happened.’
This is from 'Lost Region' by Rudyard Kipling. http://www.telelib.com/authors/K/KiplingRudyard/prose/ManyInventions/lostlegion.html

I don't understand the meaning of "scared half the country"

I am glad if someone would kindly teach me.

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  • It is still "Lost Legion" not Region. A legion is a division of an army. A region is a district of a country.
    – James K
    May 31, 2021 at 6:02

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This is an example of hyperbole.

When taken literally, the phrase is easy to understand: The row (noise) of the trooper falling over was so loud that the speaker expected half of everyone in the country to have been scared by it. But this does not make sense; it is an exaggeration. Really all they mean is "the noise was very loud."

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  • Thank you for your answer! I clearly understand the meaning of "scare half the country." May 31, 2021 at 5:14

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