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This is a conversation from "RWBY" volume 6:

A: I wouldn't exactly call us "friends".
B: Acquaintances? A: Not quite.
B: Colleagues?
A: Warmer.
B: Enemies?
A: That's the one.

Does "warmer" mean "our relationship is warmer than just colleagues", or does it mean "we're not as warm as colleagues"?

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    No. "Warmer" is a short form of "you are getting warmer". It's an expression which means "you are getting closer to the truth".
    – Billy Kerr
    May 7, 2022 at 12:59

1 Answer 1

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Conversant A is being facetious when he says I wouldn't exactly call us "friends". That's like saying I wouldn't exactly say a Rolls Royce is a "cheap" car.

When A says "colleagues" is "warmer" than "acquaintances", he's just playing the game of "hot / cold" as responses to guesses (a bit like "20 questions"). He doesn't mean the relationship is "warmer" - he (facetiously) means Your second guess is closer to the true description than your first guess.

Except not everyone would agree that "colleague" is "nearer in meaning" to "enemy" than "acquaintance" is anyway.


TL;DR:

I wouldn't exactly say it's X can be a facetious way of saying It's the complete opposite of X

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