Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In George Orwell's 1984, Part 1 Chapter 5:

Just once Winston caught a phrase -'complete and final elimination of Goldsteinism'- jerked out very rapidly and, as it seemed, all in one piece, like a line of type cast solid.

I googled a lot, but still cannot understand "a line of type cast solid".

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Try parsing it as "a line of type, [which had been] cast solid". It is a line of type for printing, which has been cast "solid": in one piece, instead of the individual letters being inserted in a form and capable of being moved around.

share|improve this answer

This refers to Linotype, an old hot-metal form of printing. From Wikipedia:

The Linotype typesetting machine ( /ˈlaɪnətaɪp/ lyn-ə-typ) is a "line casting" machine used in printing. The name of the machine comes from the fact that it produces an entire line of metal type at once, hence a line-o'-type, a significant improvement over manual typesetting.

Basically, the machine cast lines of type using molten lead. You could pick them up once they had cooled, stack them together to form paragraphs, etc.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.