I saw this in one book:

Her cheeks were too big and outrageously red-red to bear looking at.

What does red-red mean here? Where can I read more on this particular hyphen rule?

  • the hyphen partitions it, no such word 'red-red'
    – JMP
    Aug 29, 2017 at 5:48
  • 1
    More context, please - although I would read "outrageously red-red" as "very, very, in-your-face red."
    – Davo
    Aug 29, 2017 at 11:44
  • edited the question with more context
    – hovnatan
    Aug 29, 2017 at 11:55
  • 2
    It just seems like a poetic (ie not formally correct) way of saying they were very red. Aug 29, 2017 at 12:02
  • Reduplication almost always marks emphasis. Long, long is longer than long. Jan 28, 2023 at 19:18

1 Answer 1


They may have been referring to each cheek, the two being red-red, though one wonders if anyone has dissimilar cheeks.

It looks like they may be emphasizing the second half of the sentence. They were real red. In fact too red to look at.

But I'll agree they were just amplifying the redness. Not just red but way red, in fact red-red.

  • I'd guess it is distinguishing a true red colour, the bright pure red, from the pinkish colour of normal blushing cheeks, and saying these were the former. So yes it's emphasis but it's also about separating a real, literal thing from a weaker version.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 28, 2023 at 10:00

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.