-1

I looked up the word "solid" but I still have some questions about it.

(all sentences below are mine)


Can the word "solid" be used in the meaning of "considerable, substantial"?

For example:
Are the phrases "solid money/budget", "solid success", "solid age" correct?

For example:
(1) The company has solid money.
(2) The company has a solid budget.
(3) He has achieved solid success.
(4) He was in solid age.
Are (1-4) correct?


Can the word "solid" relate to people's appearance, meaning "imposing, stately, important-looking"?

For example:
Are the phrases "solid appearance", "solid man" correct?

For example:
(5) He had a solid appearance: a black jacket, tie, broad-shouldered, with a leather folder in his hands.
(6) Ms. Milton, some solid man is waiting for you outside. I think he's that detective who called yesterday.
Are (5-6) correct?

5
  • Solid can be used to mean substantial, definite and/or fixed, so your #1 solid money, #2 solid budget and #3 solid success are at least credible (but I wouldn't recommend any of them). And solid age makes no sense at all to me. Your example #5 is perfectly natural, but #6 is a quirky usage - comprehensible to most native speakers, but again, not to be recommended for learners. It's true that slang solid short for [solid, significant] favour has caught on in recent years, but I'd advise against "experimenting" with it in other contexts. Commented May 9 at 16:31
  • 1
    The only ones that make sense to me are #3 and #5. A "solid budget" maybe. It's approbation of some kind relating to the budget, but that's about all. What's "solid money"? Coin?
    – TimR
    Commented May 9 at 16:40
  • "has solid financials" would mean a company has good earnings and its future looks to be profitable. But "has solid money"? Not idiomatic, so I'd just be guessing. Has a lot of cash reserves?
    – TimR
    Commented May 9 at 16:47
  • 1
    Why do you think "solid" can have these meanings? Did any dictionary say so, or have you found examples where "solid" is used this way?
    – gotube
    Commented May 10 at 1:49
  • 1
    @gotube Yes, there are some meanings of "solid" which include the word "substantial" in their description, for example in collinsdictionary.com. But I didn't write about them in the original post to try concentrating more attention on my own examples. I mean I was afraid that if I inserted meanings from a dictionary, people would discuss more about them rather than about the examples the correctness of which I wanted to find out.
    – Loviii
    Commented May 10 at 15:26

2 Answers 2

1

Can the word "solid" be used in the meaning of "considerable, substantial"?

No. There are some circumstances where the size of something makes it solid, so both words can be used in the same, place, but they don't mean the same thing. For instance:

Joe had a considerable/substantial lead over his nearest opponent.
Joe had a solid lead over his nearest opponent.

Both these sentences describe the same situation without any ambiguity, but they create their meaning in different ways.

In the first, "considerable/substantial" gives a relative measurement of the lead, and only indirectly implies that it was a difficult lead to overcome (solid).

In the second, "solid" means the lead was difficult to overcome, and only indirectly implies that the lead was a relatively large one (considerable/substantial).

"Solid budget" is the only idiomatic phrase among your examples, but it expresses only an opinion on the quality of the budget, not its size. Similarly, you might say, "The Apollo 11 mission was a solid success", but again it would mean there's no doubt it's a success, and not that it was a substantial success. It's not idiomatic to apply "solid success" to people.

Can the word "solid" relate to people's appearance, meaning "imposing, stately, important-looking"?

No. "Solid man" means he's very muscular, like a typical bodyguard, bouncer or MMA fighter. To describe a person as solid can also mean they're totally reliable or loyal.

1

Yes, solid can mean "considerable, substantial." However, to apply this usage well, you should think of it as metaphorical or symbolic. If I punch the solid wall I will hurt my hand; but I can't punch a "solid success" in the same way.

Given that background, the cautionary comments to the OP should be noted. Metaphorical usage is always trickier to get right. For example, most of your examples are clear in meaning but not what a native English speaker would say. The following sentences are my suggested rewrites to show how solid might be used in that sense.

  1. "The company has enough money to be in a solid position." (My instinct is to describe the position as solid, not the money.)
  2. "The company's budget shows a solid foundation for the year ahead." (ditto.)
  3. "He has achieved enduring success." (That's how I have read your example, but in this case I wouldn't use solid. I'd use words that imply permanence.)
  4. He was old! (Solid here doesn't make sense to me. We have other metaphors such as "He was advanced in years".)
  5. "Solid appearance" is a reasonable usage. It suggests to me someone like a boxer or a security guard.
  6. "A solid-looking man is waiting for you." (Here I'd qualify the word to make it clear that the usage is metaphorical.)

None of the above examples are compulsory, but offered to give you a better picture of how the word is used.

1
  • The answer then is "No", because in none of those examples does "solid" mean "considerable", "substantial", "imposing", "stately", or "important-looking".
    – gotube
    Commented May 10 at 17:27

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .