I am reading a book: "Bridget Jones: Mad about the boy" but I have found an expression which I don't understand: "to have older brothers". This is the sentence:

"Did she hurt her mouth?" said Billy, looking puzzled, at which Jeremiah, who had older brothers, spurted out laughing.

This is the context: Bridget was in the bushes with Mr Wallaker who try to kiss her but her son and his two friends surprised them. I don't understand the expression "older brothers" I don't think it refers to the fact that Jeremiah actually has older brothers. Thank you very much in advance for your help

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    It does mean that Jeremiah has older brothers--he has consequently had more opportunity to learn about erotic/romantic kissing and finds Billy's conjecture (that the kiss was intended to "make it better*) amusing. Nov 24, 2015 at 22:44
  • Thank you very much, Stoney. Now I get it. I am trying to read this book in english but as it isn't my mother tongue sometimes I feel like as I am losing something
    – italiana
    Nov 25, 2015 at 16:39
  • You probably are losing something here and there--but you are also learning to fill in the gaps by inference. The more you read, the more you will be able to guess what is meant from the context. That's why reading Real Books instead of textbooks is so valuable: because you have so much more context. Nov 25, 2015 at 17:23
  • You are absolutely right. I found textbooks boring. I prefer reading articles of newspapers/magazines but above all novels. I love reading novels in english
    – italiana
    Nov 26, 2015 at 17:08
  • Me, too. I learned German mostly by reading murder mysteries! Nov 26, 2015 at 17:31

1 Answer 1


It does mean that Jeremiah has older brothers.

Because Jeremiah has older brothers he has had more opportunity to learn about erotic/romantic kissing. Billy doesn't know about this, so he interprets what has happened through what he does know. He puts three things together: A) Mr. Wallaker kissing his mother on the mouth, B) Mr. Wallaker telling him "Your mother hurt herself", and C) His mother kissing his own injuries to "make it better", and he comes up with the conjecture that Mr. Wallaker was kissing his mother because she hurt her mouth.

Jeremiah, who knows better, finds this amusing.

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