"You are not a servant at the hall, of course. You are—" He stopped, ran his eye over my dress, which, as usual, was quite simple: a black merino cloak, a black beaver bonnet; neither of them half fine enough for a lady's-maid. He seemed puzzled to decide what I was; I helped him.
"I am the governess."
(Jane Eyre)

What's the meaning of half fine?


"Half" modifies "fine enough". If something isn't fine enough, then it's not suitable; if something's not half fine enough, then it falls well short of being suitable.

Fine enough            fineness = 1.0
Half fine enough       fineness = 0.5
Not half fine enough   fineness < 0.5

Both the cloak and bonnet fell well short of being suitable.


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