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Dictionaries say 'none the worse' means 'not damaged or hurt despite something' but I cannot understand following 2 cases from the novel LoTR in this way.

case 1

'...This Treebeard at any rate has not starved you.'

'He has not,' said Merry. 'But Ents only drink, and drink is not enough for content. Treebeard's draughts may be nourishing, but one feels the need of something solid. And even lembas is none the worse for a change.'

Translation version of my tongue says even lembas couldn't make me content. But if it is right, I think 'none the better' would fit more though I'm not sure.

case 2

But if I am a murderer on that account, then all the House of Éorl is stained with murder; for they have fought many wars, and assailed many who defied them. Yet with some they have afterwards made peace, none the worse for being politic. I say, Théoden King: shall we have peace and friendship, you and I?

Translation version of my tongue says being politic wasn't bad choices. contextually it may be right but I couldn't figure out how come...

If you explain those in detail, I would really really appreciate. Thanks:-)

  • 1
    It means that although Merry was fed up with eating lembas, it made a pleasant change from drinking Ent draught all the time. "None the worse", in this case, means "preferable", or "not too bad". – Mick Nov 18 '16 at 11:18
  • It basically means "not worse off" or "didn't get worse" or "wasn't adversely affected". – iMerchant Nov 18 '16 at 11:23
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'Treebeard's draughts may be nourishing, but one feels the need of something solid. And even lembas is none the worse for a change.'

This line, if I remember correctly, is spoken when as the hobbits are finally eating food that is more "traditional", rather than the relatively exotic nutriments that they had been given by the ents ("draughts") or by the elves (lembas). While the hobbits evidently consider lembas delicious, after weeks or months of eating it exclusively, they still start to tire of it. So while Merry recognizes that lembas is an excellent food, and that he will likely be eating it again before long, it will taste better because of the interruption.

...they have fought many wars, and assailed many who defied them. Yet with some they have afterwards made peace, none the worse for being politic.

The speaker here is likely saying that it is not necessarily any dishonor to make peace with one's enemies. That is, making peace did not make them worse.

  • Don't you think that "none the worse for being politic" means that the peace achieved by negotiation after armed conflict was in no way inferior to that which would have been achieved by total military victory (which may or may not have been achievable). – BoldBen Nov 19 '16 at 0:50
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This is usd here as a litotes , so that the meaning is not the literal "not harmed or worsened", but it actually means "improved".

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