The following is a sentence from The Tunnel, or The News from Spain by Joan Wickersham.

Rebecca sees the wife around Cambridge, a narrow pretty greyhound of a woman, with a face that is at once anxious and arrogant.

I understand it means the woman is pretty but like a greyhound. But, what does "narrow" mean? Is she slim? Is her face thin? Or, is she narrow-minded?


2 Answers 2


While agreeing with @Greybeard that this cannot be a reference to the woman’s relative openness of outlook, I’d suggest it means more than merely thin.

A person can be thin but not ‘narrow’ if they have a robust skeletal frame.

Taking ’narrow’ in conjunction with the ‘greyhound of a woman’ phrase, it conjures an image of a person who is not only thin, but fine boned and of narrow frame, with the lightness of movement that characterises a greyhound.

Under Sheldon’s classification of physique, she is likely to be an ‘ectomorph’. illustration of endomprph, mesomorph and ectomorph physiques, as line drawings of bald humans, vaguely male but devoid of genitalia
The picture illustrates, from left to right, endomorph, mesomorph and ectomorph.


As the narrator has only seen the wife, she cannot know whether she is narrow-minded. It must therefore mean small in breadth or width in proportion to length; lacking breadth, i.e. she had thin features.

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