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I came across a sentence, which I am utterly incapable of understanding. I can , at the first place , not understand meaning of verb " dispatch " here . Why has the writer used this verb with 'as'? Has the writer used " had a brisk way of dispatching " as an idiom ? My reason for this is that we have an idiom " have a way of doing sth ".

Whether the world is made of matter, spirit or green cheese is not a question over which Marx lost much sleep. He was disdainful of such large metaphysical abstractions, and had a brisk way of dispatching them as idly speculative. As one of the most formidable minds of modernity, Marx was notably allergic to fancy ideas.

The text is from a book by Terry Egelton

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    Marx did not lose much sleep over the question “Is the world made of matter or is it made of spirit or is it made of green cheese?” – Jim Mar 24 '17 at 12:58
  • He believed they [such questions] were just idle speculation and dispatched them in a brisk way. – Jim Mar 24 '17 at 13:00
  • What is the problem? – kazhvan Mar 24 '17 at 13:00
  • Thank you.but how could I that understand?Is there a rule or explaination? – kazhvan Mar 24 '17 at 13:04
  • Subject-verb inversion? – Jim Mar 24 '17 at 13:08
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Whether the world is made of matter, spirit or green cheese is not a question over which Marx lost much sleep.

The assertion being that as Marx did not lose much sleep, the above question bothered him very little if at all...

He was disdainful of such large metaphysical abstractions...

[Metaphysical : Based on abstract reasoning.- OLD]

He had no respect for thinking about these abstract and for the most part unanswerable type questions.

and had a brisk way of dispatching them as idly speculative.

[Dispatch : 1. Send off to a destination or for a purpose. - OLD]

Dispatching is being used figuratively here, he would send the questions away as not being worth entertaining, as such questions were lazy and with no definitive answers (idle speculation).

As one of the most formidable minds of modernity, Marx was notably allergic to fancy ideas.

The last part of the passage conveys an opinion of the author that most modern great minds do not like (are allergic to) such fancy ideas (of the abstract, metaphysical nature) previously suggested.

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Standard idiom: having a [particular] way of doing something

The use of "dispatch ... as" is unusual; I would suggest the writer has "borrowed" it from the synonymous and more usual construction "dismiss ... as".

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[Marx] had a brisk way of dispatching [those notions] as [being] idly speculative.

In other words, Marx spared no extra time or energy to spend on ideas that could not be proven.

It's not an idiom. It's meant literally. He dismissed those ideas quickly, as he had no time to spend on them.

  • Ah.so do you believe that "as "mean here "because of"? – kazhvan Mar 24 '17 at 13:16
  • More, "because he saw them as," but yes. – allpplBsheeple Mar 24 '17 at 13:22
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    Technically, one would use "as being" but "being" is omitted for style. – allpplBsheeple Mar 24 '17 at 13:27

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