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I came across the following sentence in Chapter 15 of Lady Chatterlay's Lover, when the keeper talks about the English middle class:

... full of conceit of themselves, frightened even if their boot-laces aren't correct, rotten as high game, and always in the right.

What is "high game"?

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'Game' refers to the birds or animals shot or hunted for sport, in England partridges, pheasants, grouse etc, as well as venison. It is the practice to 'hang' such birds after they have been bled so that the meat matures. If this is overdone, and they are left too long the meat becomes 'high' and eventually decomposed. Hence the meaning of 'as rotten as high game'' I can only guess that the words are spoken by Mellors, the gamekeeper, who will in his occupation have had much experience of game birds, so it is a reasonable metaphor for him to have chosen.

  • See Wikipedia "Traditionally, game meat used to be hung until "high", i.e. approaching a state of decomposition. The term 'gamey', 'gamy' refers to this usually desirable taste (haut goût)" – Henry Oct 27 '13 at 10:26
  • Yes you're right. It's Mellors. – asterix314 Oct 27 '13 at 10:39

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