What is the meaning of the phrase "after a fashion"? I take it that the word fashion has different connotations here than its usual meaning.
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I think there’s another meaning besides the one cited by VonC, and that is more or less equivalent to “in a manner of speaking” or “so to say”.
It’s not commonly used but one example of this usage can be found in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:
This is supposed to be a joke, based on the fact that Dumbledore deliberately understands a different thing than the other person by “to have a drink”. In this context, “after a fashion” does not mean “not very much” – the meaning is related, but quite distinct.
In this context, the meaning of “fashion” is exactly identical to “manner” or “kind” and I believe that is the original meaning of the word, as opposed to the current usage.
From the Longman dictionary
That differs considerably from the main meanings of "fashion":
Note: don't mix it up with "in a fashion" (in a particular way):
After a fashion, according to Webster's new world dictionary, means "in some way or to some extent, not fully".