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longgone's avatar

Will you give me some terms which may be used in the context of beating somebody up?

Asked by longgone (17108points) October 23rd, 2015

I’m translating the German subtitles of a friend’s movie.

In the movie, a man beats up a woman. The sentence I am struggling with is,

“He started to _ me.”

For the blank space, I need something which will sound neither clinical nor too colloquial.

I thought I’d ask my jelly friends. Which term(s) seem fitting?

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14 Answers

_Seek_'s avatar

Pound, beat, abuse, punch, hit, strike, smack…

Zaku's avatar

I would think “hit” or “beat” or “attack” would be the generic words someone would tend to use. Possibly “hurt”. Or they might be more specific about the type, so if it applied: “kick” “slap” “punch” “choke” “strangle” “shake”.

longgone's avatar

Thanks, some great ideas. I just discovered I may need something which includes the word “into”, that would work perfectly because the German phrase includes a similar word.

Something like, “He started to lay into me.”, but I’m not sure that’s strong enough. Thoughts?

lasuz's avatar

There woukd be several synonyms such as hurt, attack, strike, pounce, assault, injure, beat up, slap, kick, or if you wanted it to sound realy strong, mutilate.

Jeruba's avatar

I take it that this is a line of dialogue about the attack, after the fact, and not spoken while the attack is going on.

So—what is the context? Is the woman screaming for a policeman, is she sobbing out her terror to her friend, is she testifying in a courtroom, is she speaking to a doctor, is she consulting a lawyer? What’s the setting, and what’s her emotional state?

Also, why “He started to ___ me” and not “He ___ me?” Did something interrupt the attack? Even if not, forcing a “started to” construction limits your options for the best expression.

If a character’s age, level of education, and social class also have a bearing on speech, that’s pertinent information too, but it might not make much difference in this instance.

“Mutilate” is not a really strong word for “attack.” It refers to an entirely different sort of action from beating up.

longgone's avatar

@Jeruba The woman is a first-person narrator. Her tone is closest to that used in a report one would give to a judge, very detailed. She does not mention her feelings, she merely tells us what happened. Her speech is not formal, exactly, but she seems to distance herself from what happened.

The attack takes place on a bus, there is no-one there apart from the attacker/bus driver.

Her emotional state is, presumably, panicked. She dies at the hands of her attacker, and she sees it coming for a while.

The “started to” is awkward in the original German. I don’t want to change it, but I might have to. Feel free to ignore it for now.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The simple “He started hitting me” is probably best, lacking more detail. “hammering me with his fists.” Does he “kick & punch” her? “Punch” implies fist(s).

longgone's avatar

@stanleybmanly No, he doesn’t appear to use fists or feet.

Jeruba's avatar

He came at me.
He assaulted me.
He attacked me.

Is this attack initially sexual in nature? Very different from, say, either hitting or verbally abusing.

longgone's avatar

@Jeruba “Is this attack initially sexual in nature?”


“He came at me.” conveys a message very similar to the German word. Thanks! I’ll talk to my friend.

JLeslie's avatar

He came at me, or maybe he cornered me.

Cornered might better convey no way to escape, while came at me it I interpret as the person aggressively coming towards me.

Pandora's avatar

He forced himself on me.

zenvelo's avatar

Thrashed. He gave me a thrashing.

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