From Solstice By Anne Enright:

A full forty minutes later, the dual carriageway turned into the old Blessington Road, and oncoming traffic shot by so close he flinched in the glare of the lights. This was the part of the journey that he loved best: the street lamps gave way to the idea of countryside, and there was a song on the radio as the road opened up ahead.

What does "traffic shot by so close" mean?

Is it talking about thr light reaching the eye from a close distance?

closed as off-topic by Edwin Ashworth, lbf, Cascabel, JJJ, Chappo Jun 12 at 8:46

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    No, it is talking about vehicles passing close by at a high speed. Evidently the 'old' road is no longer a dual carriageway, so the two streams of traffic are not separated and the driver is looking (almost) straight at the headlamps of oncoming traffic. – Kate Bunting Apr 8 at 8:20
  • @KateBunting I agree. It wouldn't matter whether it was night or day, the oncoming traffc would 'shoot by' just as closely. – BoldBen Apr 8 at 8:31
  • Yes, but the OP seemed confused by the mention of lights. – Kate Bunting Apr 8 at 8:35

According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary :


intransitive verb

1a: to go or pass rapidly and precipitately

So the sentence refers to the "fast moving of the vehicle dangerously close to the observer".

  • Your interpretation of the sentence may be correct, but the logical construction of your answer certainly is not. One definition selected from a list of alternatives does not imply — your use of “so” — anything about a passage using the word. Reversing the logical order of your answer it would be valid to support or clarify your interpretation by reference to a particular definition. But why answer a question which is clearly ELL level? – David Jun 7 at 17:36

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