Please explain what "to wear the leather on one's boots through" means. I cannot imagine how that act is.

The context: "I won't let you dance until you wear the leather on your boots through."

Thank you

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  • If something is worn through it is worn to the point that there is a hole in it. – Jim Mar 21 '16 at 3:25
  • It could mean "to break in the boots," that is, "to soften the leather". In this case, "wear" means to "grind down" or "erode". But I don't understand the context at all or the use of "through". With the use of "through" it seems like an idiom meaning "to wear ones boots until they have a hole in them." But that doesn't work in the context... Are you sure the context doesn't say "I won't let you STOP dancing until..."? – Silenus Mar 21 '16 at 3:26
  • Thank you Jim and Silenus for your explanations. I'm sure the context says "I won't let you dance...", before that the girl had said to the boy: "No dancing, that's one of the rules." But I still feel confused about the meaning of this sentence. If he doesn't let her dance how can she wear the leather on her boots through (which means her boots will have a hole in them). – Nhu_Doan Mar 21 '16 at 3:40
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    I wonder If he would like to describe the idea that: "We just dance a little, I won't let you dance so much (that your boots have a hole in them)". If not, how should he say to describe that idea? Could you please give me an example for that? – Nhu_Doan Mar 21 '16 at 3:51

Context is everything in something like this. He asks her to dance. She doesn't want to. He pulls her to the dance floor anyway, promising not to force her to dance until her boot leather is worn through; he won't even force her dance all night.

It's hyperbole. Of course he won't do that. She doesn't want to dance at all. Yet she dances happily until she collapses.

I only read the part of the one page, but what I did read isn't terribly well written.

  • Thank you so much Medica for your explanation as well as for your guidance on how to give a context! – Nhu_Doan Mar 21 '16 at 6:05
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    It's an interesting phrase. Without the OP's clarification of context, it could also be interpreted as coming from a dance instructor who won't let a student perform until they've rehearsed a whole lot more. – Lawrence Mar 21 '16 at 12:53
  • @Lawrence: Yeah, I see. By the way, please let me know what OP in the phrase of "OP's clarification of context" is. – Nhu_Doan Mar 22 '16 at 5:42
  • @anongoodnurse (Medica): I am not quite sure what "isn't terribly well written" means. Please help me to get the idea. – Nhu_Doan Mar 22 '16 at 5:42
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    @Nhu_Doan Ref Yes, that's what I thought was particularly interesting there - it could almost be its own opposite. This arises from what the word won't refers to: dancing at all, or the amount of dancing; and what until refers back to: how long permission is withheld, or the duration of the dance. – Lawrence Mar 22 '16 at 6:32

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