What does "hotly" mean in this context?
July 21, 2011 6:24 AM   Subscribe

What does "hotly" mean in this context?

This is a passage from an article entitled "The Late Great General MacArthur, Warts and All," by Faubion Bowers in Esquire, January (1967), page 168.

Suddenly we passed a Japanese girl, hotly. 'Look at that,’ The General said, ‘They keep trying to get me to stop all the Madame Butterflying around, too. I won’t do it. My father told me never to give an order unless I was certain it would be carried out. I wouldn’t issue a no-fraternization order for all the tea in China.’

What does "hotly" mean here? I would like to hear from people who remember 1967 and how the word was used then, or who have some specific knowledge about the word's usage that I can't find in a dictionary. I can guess the word's meaning or look it up myself.

Thank you.
posted by vincele to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Yikes, that sounded harsh. I mean, if you know something, please share. Thanks.
posted by vincele at 6:34 AM on July 21, 2011

Can we get some more context? A couple of sentences either side.

I'm guessing it's a synonym for "quickly" (think "hot on his heels"/"hot pursuit", but I have no evidence.
posted by Leon at 6:43 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Look up Google Books for older texts (pre-1945) for instance, there are many examples of people riding horses "hotly", i.e. at full speed.
posted by elgilito at 6:46 AM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I will ask my dad, who worked at Esquire in the 60s. There might be a little lag time, though, because it takes him a while to read his email.
posted by thebazilist at 7:09 AM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster:
I will ask my dad, who worked at Esquire in the 60s. There might be a little lag time, though, because it takes him a while to read his email.

Thanks, I will put you two in a footnote if I end up using the passage, and if you want to be footnoted!
posted by vincele at 8:17 AM on July 21, 2011

Please tell us in thread I'm dying to know.
posted by sweetkid at 10:15 AM on July 21, 2011

Best answer: It definitely means something like "quickly," "at full throttle" or "at speed."
posted by paulsc at 11:02 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: paulsc, thank you, that makes perfect sense. pm me if you'd like to appear in a footnote!

thebazilist, please do the same. It would neat if your dad has something to add or remembers working on this issue or article.

If anyone has other thoughts, please add them here. I'll keep checking this thread.
posted by vincele at 2:54 PM on July 21, 2011

Well, I hope you or a family member didn't write this...

My father didn't have any personal recollections about this, but here's what he had to say about the possible meanings of "hotly" (just be glad you never had to give him school papers to look over):

It is just bad writing. First of all, it is not only unclear as to whether “hotly” is an adverb or an adjective, but also as to what persons and/or what actions it is meant to modify. Does it, as an adverb, describe the physical manner in which the vehicle passed the Japanese girl (e.g., fast) or the attitude with which the General viewed the behavior of the girl (e.g., angry, as in hot under the collar)? Or as an adjective does it describe the emotional state of the girl (e.g., horny) as she observed the general observing her? And even if those questions were to be answered, the construction itself is clumsy and ineffective. Finally, I don’t believe it is actually correct – writerly correct – in any of those uses. It just is stupid writing.
posted by thebazilist at 9:39 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'll agree that the construction is a bit strange. On first reading, given what the General says, my take on his tone was that he was 'hot'--upset or irritated--about the issue of no-fraternization.

What does the rate of speed of travel have to do with the statement MacArthur is making?
posted by BlueHorse at 10:09 PM on July 21, 2011

It might be cultural...but, while it's an awkward sentence, I don't see that the meaning of hotly has changed. I've frequently heard and used "hotly pursued" and when I googled it it means "closely and with determination" which is what I always took it to mean, and fits in this sentence.

I'm only Australian though. It's possible our language could be, at times, considered dated.
posted by taff at 2:32 AM on July 22, 2011

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