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His one-word send-off: brisk, bold, and blunted.

Why is blunted used, rather than "blunt"?

And also why aren't brisk and bold "brisked and bolded"?

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    Where is this from? What does it mean? Note that "blunted" means something different from "blunt" - consult a good dictionary.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 25, 2022 at 10:27
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    The source of the quoted line should be included with some surrounding context.
    – KillingTime
    Jul 25, 2022 at 10:27

1 Answer 1

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The text is quoted from the opening paragraphs of “Call Me By Your Name,” by Andre Aciman. It's well-regarded. Here is more context, taken from the very beginning, with a short ellipsis:

“Later!” The word, the voice, the attitude.

I’d never heard anyone use “later” to say goodbye before. It sounded harsh, curt, and dismissive, spoken with the veiled indifference of people who may not care to see or hear from you again.

It is the first thing I remember about him, and I can hear it still today. Later!

. . . almost without thinking, and with his back already turned to the car, he waves the back of his free hand and utters a careless Later! to another passenger in the car who has probably split the fare from the station. No name added, no jest to smooth out the ruffled leave-taking, nothing. His one-word send-off: brisk, bold, and blunted — take your pick, he couldn’t be bothered which.

My take on this is that the narrator is impressed with the fact that his friend (or whoever) has shortened the usual farewell—"See you later"—to the much simpler "Later." This is the sense in which blunted makes more sense than blunt. The phrase is not simply direct. It has been shortened, made blunt.

I can't say for certain why the author did not also go for brisked and bolded. They sound strange to my ears and might have to the author's as well. I'm tempted to say that blunt is commonly used as a verb, while brisk is not—but artists take liberties. He could have done so but apparently chose not to.

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