I would like to know what "a strong neck with a place made out for his Adam’s apple" means in the following sentences:

This is where I saw Beniek again. I was surprised that he was there, because I had never seen him at church. He had changed. The skinny child I remembered was turning into a man – or so I thought – and even though we were only nine you could already see manhood budding within him: a strong neck with a place made out for his Adam’s apple; long, strong legs that would stick out of his shorts as we sat in a circle in the priest’s room; muscles visible beneath the skin; fine hair appearing above his knees. He still had the same unruly hair, curly and black; and the same eyes, dark and softly mischievous. I think we both recognised the other, though we didn’t acknowledge it. But after the first couple of meetings we started to talk. I don’t remember what about. How does one bond with another child, as a child? Maybe it’s simply through common interests. Or maybe it’s something that lies deeper, for which everything you say and do is an unwitting code. But the point is, we did get on. Naturally. And after Bible study, which was on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, we’d take the tram all the way to the city centre, riding past the zoo and its neon lion perched on top of the entrance gate, past the domed Centennial Hall the Germans had built to mark the anniversary of something no one cared to remember. We rode across the iron bridges over the calm, brown Odra river. There were many empty lots along the way, the city like a mouth with missing teeth. Some blocks only had one lonely, sooty building standing there all by itself, like a dirty island in a black sea.

In this novel which is set in the 1980's in Poland under the socialist regime, where homosexuality was socially unacceptable, the protagonist Ludwik (a university graduate) left Poland in 1981 to live in the United States of America. And he remembers what it was like back then in Poland, where he used to hang out with his friends including his first love Beniek in his hometown of Wrocław when he was nine years old.

In this part, I wonder whether the boldfaced part means some point of his neck was protruding because of his Adam's apple. In short, I am wondering what "a place made out for his Adam's apple" means.

I am an English learner from South Korea. I would very much appreciate your help. :)

1 Answer 1


Beniek is on the cusp of puberty, although if he's only nine he seems to be growing rather faster than the other boys his age. Since he hasn't quite entered puberty, his body has not exhibited all the signs yet. For example, his Adam's apple isn't developed yet. However, his body is beginning to change, so Ludwik can see that his throat is showing signs that there will soon be an Adam's apple there. Hence "a place made out for his Adam's apple."

  • Dear verbose, thank you very much for the explanation. Then may I understand that "made out for" means perhaps "extended/expanded for (his Adam's apple)"? Or does it perhaps mean "prepared for (his Adam's apple)"? Dec 17, 2020 at 10:19
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    It means both those things, primarily the second. His throat would not actually expand before he had an Adam’s apple, but it would perhaps look a bit stretched out
    – verbose
    Dec 17, 2020 at 10:21
  • Dear verbose, thank you so much for the additional explanation. So "make out for" here is close to "prepared for"! Would "to make out" here perhaps have the meaning of "to represent or delineate in detail," as one sketches in art? (This is the fifth meaning of "make out" in Merriam Webster dictionary. Source: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/make%20out) Dec 18, 2020 at 6:35
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    Right, it means something like "prepared for". I wouldn't say that it is represented or delineated in detail, though. The sixth meaning is somewhat closer: to discern with difficulty. Ludwik can just about "make out" the Adam's apple on Beniek. But the closest definition is the third one on this Collins Dictionary page.
    – verbose
    Dec 18, 2020 at 9:23
  • Dear verbose, thank you very much for the explanation. So it was Ludwik who could "make out/discern" the Adam's apple on Beniek's neck. I sincerely appreciate your help. :) Dec 21, 2020 at 5:23

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