I am reading an article from 1843 magazine and not sure what the implication is behind one sentence.

This part of the article is about a stolen dog was sold by a thief to another person who bought it for $300. The dog was later found and the original owner then knew more information about the crook. The following is the part in the article.

de Grazia had picked up information about the crook from court filings and the local rumour mill. All of which may be true – but hey, $300 for a seven-year-old dog that de Grazia originally bought for about $1,500 from a “renowned breeder” is pretty respectable.

I don't know why the writer used the word respectable here. Does the writer mean that $300 is well worth the value of the dog? If so, the owner must think the dog is sold at a good price given its age. But I can sense sarcasm here which could mean $300 is too low compared to $1500. I don't know how I should read the sentence.

  • 1
    'Respectable' means a 'decent' or 'good price. Please see Cambridge Dictionary C2. The dog is 7 years old, so obviously would be worth far less than when purchased from the breeder. Jun 10, 2023 at 17:16

1 Answer 1


This is said rather ironically, because of the criminality.

If you (for example) buy a car for $1000, fix it up and sell it on for $1500, you have made $500 profit. If you have spent a week working on the car you might be pleased with such a profit. You could say

$500 for a week's work is pretty respectable.

You would mean "It is a good amount of money. It is a fair and pleasing profit."

Here, the thief is getting a good price for a dog. The thief should feel pleased with the amount of money. It is used rather ironically, since it isn't a fair amount of money, because the thief had no right to sell the dog at all.

  • If I read this sentence from the thief's perspective, it immediately makes sense to me. I was confused because I couldn't get it why the owner would think her dog was sold at a good price. But for the thief, $300 is indeed pretty respectable.
    – Emma-Li
    Jun 11, 2023 at 17:53
  • Yeah. Price and value are different things. From the point of view of the owner, the dog may have been invaluable: a friend and companion, but the price of the dog (what the owner believes e would get if the dog were sold) might be much less. Perhaps the owner would estimate that they'd get between £200 and £350 if they sold the dog (something they would never do) so £300 seems "pretty respectable".
    – James K
    Jun 11, 2023 at 18:36

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