I have to translate this paragraph into Romanian:

I look at the banister. The dog’s lead didn’t cause any damage, and in the row of four turned wooden posts the one he hanged from doesn’t look different from the others, except for a few stains. I think, nonsensically, of the houses on Priory Walk in Chelsea, the identical white decoys on either side.

I don't understand the meaning of 'decoy' in this context. Could someone please explain to me what it means?


Here's a quote from the first chapter:

The first thing I see is the dog. The dog is hanging by his lead from the top of the stairs. The rope creaks as the dog slowly rotates. I know this is bad, but it is also amazing. How did you do that, I wonder.

Now that she returned to the house she looks at the same banister and tries to recall which of the wooden posts the dog hanged from. The two identical white posts on both sides of the one she's looking for act like decoys diverting her attention.

  • This sounds right but I still don't understand the reference to "the houses on Priory Walk in Chelsea, " – Max Williams Aug 25 '16 at 15:57
  • She says it's just a nonsensical thought – Харбин Хэйлунцзян Oct 5 '16 at 8:25

Decoy is a just a Dummy to distract someone or many people.

I think, nonsensically, of the houses on Priory Walk in Chelsea, the identical white decoys on either side.

The way i see in this context ,the narrator tries to find a house but there are lots of white identical houses in either sides of a road and narrator finds difficult to find the correct house


They are likely to refer to ornaments on either side of the house.

Decoy noun 1 A bird or mammal, or an imitation of one, used by hunters to attract other birds or mammals - ODO

The term decoy comes from hunting, but the small statues can also have ornamental value. Here is an example (disclaimer: I am not aware of any affiliation with the following business) -

Decorative decoy carvings are the top line of my decoy series. - Ben Heinemann

enter image description here

(The picture is just illustrative of the art form; the decoy mentioned in the question would be white.)

  • I struggle to think why anyone would put white imitation ducks on the sides of houses in Chelsea. – Simon B Aug 19 '16 at 22:20
  • @SimonB For a similar reason to why some put garden gnomes there, I suppose. By the way, idiomatically, on either side of a house can refer to both sides of a garden path leading to the main door. – Lawrence Aug 19 '16 at 23:19

This is an excerpt from a novel called Under The Harrow, by Flynn Berry.


It's not at all obvious what it means. This is the street in question (in a very upmarket and expensive neighbourhood in London), on Google street view:


Many of the houses are white but I have no idea what the author means by "decoys". I'd thought that perhaps some of the houses were actually several houses joined into one, and the front doors are left over from before but no longer used. That's the only meaning I could think of which makes sense. There's nothing I can see in that photo to suggest that that is the case, however.

I'd thought that it was perhaps a reference to something earlier in the novel, but a search of the text reveals that this is the only time that the phrase "Priory Walk" appears. Perhaps someone who had read the whole book might understand what is meant.

So, I don't know what the author means, which probably isn't the answer you're looking for. I think that you will probably just need to translate the literal meaning and have it make as much sense in Romanian as it does in English.

  • Is ' I don't know what the author means' an answer than ELU is looking for? – Edwin Ashworth Aug 19 '16 at 12:54
  • @EdwinAshworth I'd say it's not the answer that people would most like to see, but it may be the best answer than anyone (other than the author) is capable of giving. I have at least done some research before throwing my hands up in the air. – Max Williams Aug 19 '16 at 13:00
  • I'd say it is of 'comment' status. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 19 '16 at 13:06
  • It may be of comment value but it is way to long to put into a comment, both for the sake of clarity and formatting but also because of the simple character limit. – Max Williams Aug 19 '16 at 13:08

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