My sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery, was an ext than twenty years older 보다 I, and had created a good reputation with herself and the neighbours because she had actually brought me up ‘by hand.’

What does this ax mean? Is it an idiom?


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This web site claims that "brought increase by hand" way that he was bottle- or spoon-fed rather than nursed by his mother or by a wet-nurse.

You are watching: What does brought up by hand mean

By hand, lugged up: Infants, in the absence of the mother, were either sent out to be fed through a wet-nurse (another lactating woman), or to be spoon- or bottle-fed. Mrs. Joe"s insurance claim to ar fame -- that she elevated Pip "by hand" -- describes the latter method.

This gave Mrs. Joe Gargery a "great reputation" since at the time, child mortality was much larger among babies "brought up by hand".One deserve to find intake of this original meaning of "brought increase by hand", and discussion of the high resulting infant mortality, in Google publications (the linked book is native 1846, a little an ext than a decade prior to Dickens composed Great Expectations).


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edited may 3 "13 at 19:45
answered may 3 "13 at 19:39
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Peter Shor Peter Shor
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I think the the expression is deliberately ambiguous.

Originally "by hand" expected nursed by someone various other than ones organic mother (not have to by bottle). Yet Dickens is do a little of use of amphiboly:

The complete Dickens quote is:

My sister Mrs. Joe Gargery, was more than twenty years older 보다 I, and also had established a good reputation v herself and also the neighbours because she had brought me up "by hand". Having at that time to find out for myself what the expression meant, and knowing her to have actually a hard and also heavy hand, and to be lot in the habit of laying that upon she husband and upon me, I claimed that Joe Gargery and also I were both lugged up by hand. (C. Dickens, great Expectations

This reads come me the "bring up by hand" median something special and Dickens is do a pat on words come the effect that "by hand" evokes using her hand corporally against her husband and also kids, so, ha ha, even though one of the children was nursed by his mother, they were both carried up through the back of a hand applied.

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Unfortunately, ns can discover no evidence of what I insurance claim is the original meaning in the OED.