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Hello,

Rest pot right side up on the washboard, check the line against snarls and look back at relative spacing to the last marker. If O.K.throw pot overboard.

William Warner, Beautiful Swimmers: Waterman, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay


Does the part in bold mean making sure there are no snarls on the line? What does "against" mean here?

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Make sure that the rope is straight (no knots or twists). It is a local expression.

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snarls - We more commonly say tangles.


What does "against" mean here? Check the line to ensure there are no snarls. against says clearly that what you are checking for is not wanted.

But we more commonly say eg check the line FOR snarls, and rely on the context to make it clear that we don't want snarls.

Compare this. Check the line for lobsters. Here, the context will make it clear that we do want lobsters.