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This is from Michael Lewis's book, Liar's Poker:

I’m not sure any of them had what you’d call genuine ethnic identity. But they were an oppressed minority. And they shed rather than acquired airs. They were back-row people to a man.

What does "And they shed rather than acquired airs." mean?

The definition of airs is:

affected or unnatural manner; manifestation of pride or vanity; assumed haughtiness:

But I don't understand what does "they shed" mean.

Thanks for the help!

  • Hello, rds. What definition of 'shed' would you say contrsasts with 'acquire/d'? – Edwin Ashworth Feb 13 '18 at 16:54
  • @EdwinAshworth shed- to get rid of. So is the author saying that they were a humble group? – rds80 Feb 13 '18 at 16:56
  • Perhaps 'lowly'; 'humble' is ambiguous. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 13 '18 at 17:00
  • Makes sense now. 'Lowly' flows with the meaning of the previous sentence and the sentence afterwards. Thanks! – rds80 Feb 13 '18 at 17:07
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The context suggests that 'they' were oppressed minority. Given the context, it means that 'they were polite and modest rather than arrogant and proud'.

More specifically, they shed(drop or lose) the arrogance instead of putting on more.

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