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Question
Dear Ted:

The following passage is taken from a New York Times article titled "Rice Offers a More Modest Strategy for Mideast."

"We canít just be consumed 24/7 by one region, important as it is," she said, adding, "He thought it was a good time to step back and reassess, in a very critical and kind of no-holds-barred way, how we conceive the region."

My question is this:

What does "and kind of no-holds-barred way" mean?

Again, many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Polo:

Dear Ted:

The following passage is taken from a New York Times article titled "Rice Offers a More Modest Strategy for Mideast."

"We canít just be consumed 24/7 by one region, important as it is," she said, adding, "He thought it was a good time to step back and reassess, in a very critical and kind of no-holds-barred way, how we conceive the region."

My question is this:

What does "and kind of no-holds-barred way" mean?

*** The phrase comes from the world of wrestling.  Before a match, the wrestlers are told what "holds" they are allowed to put on their opponents.  These are the legal "holds."  Certain dangerous holds are considered illegal or "unsportsmanlike."  If a wrestler uses one of these illegal holds, he can be heavily penalized.

If the promoters of a wrestling match decide that one wrestler can do anything to another -- legal or not -- the match is called a "no holds barred" event.

The same thing goes for the phrase used in boxing.  When boxers want to go all out and draw the blood of their opponents, they "take off their gloves."

If you or a country does something in a "no holds barred way,"  it means you are setting aside the rules or accepted protocols and procedures.  In a discussion setting, each speaker says what is REALLY on his mind.  He doesn't hold back because of his seniors or some politicians, etc.  Nothing can "bar" him from saying what he wants.

Ted  

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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