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Those days are through for me! I've got far more important matters at stake! - Warcraft: War of the Ancients #1

Even read this many times. I still confused with the second sentence. I know all the meaning of separate words but still confused when combined together.

Thank you.

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The literal meaning for at stake relates to gambling. What is at stake is that which the gambler has wagered. It is something which the gambler might lose.

The figurative meaning is that something important depends on how a situation unfolds or on how it is handled.

Let's say a man is brought before the court for spraying paint on the wall of City Hall. The City had to pay $5000 to have the paint removed. The judge requires the perpetrator to pay a fine of $5000 to cover the cost, but also sentences him to one year in jail. The judge says, when justifying the prison sentence:

There's more at stake here than $5000. We must set an example to let everyone know that defacing City property is unacceptable behavior.

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I've got far more important matters at stake!

This simply means that the speaker has many more things that he must attend to, rather than what he's currently wasting time on.
"Those days are through for me!", this signifies that the speaker finds the things he used to do, back in "those days" unworthy, and perhaps possesses a lower priority to him, as of now. So he has stopped doing them. Let me explain the context with an example.

Consider a contract killer, who has gained popularity due to his brutal ways, but has left his ways to take personal revenge on the ruthless king. One day, he gets an assignment to kill a unhealthy man (he used to take up any jobs for a reward, back when he was a young man). Now he tells the person who comes with the contract :
"Those days are through for me! I've got far more important matters at stake!"

This means that the killer has left his ways of killing for money and finds it unworthy of his time and energy. He has moved onto something more important, which when compared to his contracts from the past, means next to nothing.

PS : I've used a story line-based example because you have quoted this from "Warcraft", and you may relate to the answer better.

  • At stake - can be won or lost.(oxford) it has not any related meaning in this. Can you explain it? Thank you – vietphi Jan 19 '16 at 10:29
  • As I'm not very certain with the storyline of 'Warcraft', let me explain with my example : The killer plans to take on the king. This could mean that he could either die, or he could kill the king. Now, his life is at stake here, whereas earlier, it was just a few pieces of gold he would get, on completing the contract. Him winning the gold is what was at stake earlier, whereas its his life now. – Varun Nair Jan 19 '16 at 10:35
  • So as I understand - "He have got far more important matters than to take more risk." Am I right? Your examble is good for my case. – vietphi Jan 19 '16 at 10:53
  • Yes, somewhat. The speaker has to attend a few things that are very important to him now. The more important things are, the more is at stake. – Varun Nair Jan 19 '16 at 11:00

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