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I'm reading Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, which contains this passage (emphasis added):

These were said to be individuals who beat the tar out of each other, husbands belting wives, mothers beating kids with whatever object fell to hand, the Holy Bible itself not out of the question. I took Mom's word on that because you hear of such things, folks so godly as to pass around snakes, also passing around black eyes. If this is a new one on you, maybe you also think a dry county is a place where there's no liquor to be found. Southwest Virginia, we're one damn thing after another.

The only definition I know of for dry county is the one that the narrator implies is incorrect. What alternative definition does he mean here?

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  • Not negating that dry means no liquor, but that it means more, and not godly things due to dryness either. Describing the Bible Belt, the belting can be literal. Nov 28, 2022 at 21:05
  • Illegal liquor can be found in dry counties. And perhaps surprisingly, Jack Daniels is distilled in Moore County, Tennessee, a "dry county".
    – Henry
    Nov 29, 2022 at 13:15

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What alternative definition does he mean here?

He doesn't.

If this is a new one on you, maybe you also think a dry county is a place where there's no liquor to be found

has the implication of but you would be wrong because liquor can easily be found.

And so the parallel goes with "you might think that in a deeply Christian area, there would be no violence" ... but you would be wrong because there is.

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