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双语:9个常用短语背后的起源故事 超乎你想象

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  • Riding shotgun真的跟猎枪有关

    "Riding shotgun" is the ideal place to ride during on a road trip. But in the Old West, the person sitting in the passenger seat was required to do a whole lot more than find the perfect radio station.

    在现代,riding shotgun指的是汽车上的副驾驶座。在旧时的美国西部,副驾驶座上的人要做的可不仅仅是调到一个好电台那么简单。

    Stagecoach drivers in the Old West needed a person to literally "ride shotgun." The passenger would carry a shotgun in order to scare off robbers who might want to attack them, according to?Reader's Digest.

    根据美国杂志《读者文摘》的文章显示,过去在美国西部赶马车的人需要有人在旅行途中保驾护航。副驾驶座上的人要手持猎枪来吓退想要攻击马车的强盗。

    Highway robbery真的是抢劫

    Most people would agree that paying $10 for your favorite cup of coffee is highway robbery. But the original definition of highway robbery once meant literally robbing travelers on or near the highway. The first known usage of the phrase was in 1611.

    多数人会认同一杯可口的咖啡要价10美元(68元人民币)是highway robbery(敲竹杠)。但是highway robbery原来的意思就是在公路上或公路附近抢劫旅客。这个短语的使用最早见于1611年。

    Painting the town red源自醉鬼恶行

    For you and your crew, "painting the town red" probably means getting glammed up for a fun night of drinks and dancing. However, the phrase originates from a night out that makes dancing on the bar seem tame.

    对你和你的小伙伴来说,painting the town red的意思是打扮得光鲜亮丽晚上出去喝酒、跳舞。但是,这个短语原来的意思可比在酒吧跳舞劲爆多了。

    Back in 1837, the Marquis of Waterford went out for a night of drinking with some of his friends, according to Phrases.org. Afterward, the group went through the streets of a small English town destroying property. They broke windows, knocked over flower pots, and damaged door knockers. But things got really crazy when they got their hands on some red paint and literally painted the town red, including doors, a tollgate, and a swan statue.

    根据Phrases.org 网站的记载,1837年,沃特福德侯爵和几个朋友夜出喝酒,后来他们经过一个英格兰小镇的街道时开始搞破坏:砸碎窗户、打翻花盆、损坏门环。这些酒鬼拿到了一些红油漆后,局面就开始失控了,酒鬼们把整个镇子都刷成了红色,包括门、一处关卡和一尊天鹅雕像。

    Pulling someone’s leg并不总是玩笑

    You probably think that pulling someone's leg is all in good fun. After all, what's the harm in a little joke, right? This commonly used phrase that today means playing an innocent joke meant something a lot more sinister years ago.

    你大概以为pulling someone's leg(开某人的玩笑)都很好玩。毕竟,开个小玩笑无伤大雅。这个常用短语在今天的意思是开个没有恶意的玩笑,但多年前的意思却要邪恶得多。

    Thieves in 18th and 19th Century London would drag their victims to the ground by their legs in order to rob them, according to Phrases.org.

    根据Phrases.org 网站的记载,18世纪和19世纪伦敦的小偷会拉住受害人的腿将其拖倒在地,然后抢劫财物。

    Paying through the nose北欧海盗真的做得出

    You won't be happy if you think you're paying through the nose for something. Although you may feel like you're getting ripped off, at least you get to keep your face intact. The roots of this commonly used idiom come from a brutal tactic of The Dane Vikings of slitting someone's nose from tip to eyebrow if the person refused to pay their tax, according to Grammarist.

    如果你觉得自己paying through the nose for something(为某件东西花了很多钱),肯定高兴不起来。不过,就算被“宰”,至少你的脸是完好无损的。根据Grammarist网站记载,这个常用习语源于北欧海盗的一种残酷手段,如果有人拒绝交税,就将此人的鼻子从鼻头到眉间划开。

    如果有人read you the riot act 你的麻烦远超你想象

    After your parents "read you the riot act" for breaking curfew, you might have been facing a few weeks in your room without a television. But in 18th Century England, being read the Riot Act meant you could be facing time behind bars.

    如果你的父母因为你深夜不归而read you the riot act(责罚你),你可能将面临几周的禁闭,还不能看电视。但是在18世纪的英格兰,being read the Riot Act(宣读《暴动法案》)意味着你可能要进监狱。

    The Riot Act was implemented in 1715 and stated that the British government could consider any group of 12 or more people a threat to public safety and be ordered to break up, according to Atlas Obscura. Anyone refusing to disperse could be arrested or forcibly removed from the premises.

    据Atlas Obscura网站记载,1715年实施的《暴动法案》指出,英国政府将会把任何12人以上的团体视为对公共安全的威胁,并勒令其解散。任何拒绝解散的人将被逮捕或强行驱逐。

    Letting the cat out of the bag可能是阴险勾当

    Today, "letting the cat out of the bag" is used to mean spilling someone's secret. But one of the supposed origins of the phrase was rooted in deceit.

    在现代,letting the cat out of the bag指的是泄露某人的秘密。但该短语的原意和欺骗有关。

    Supposedly in Medieval times, farmers would go to markets to purchase pigs. Most of the time, their bag would contain the animal they paid for. But if they bought from a shady dealer, they would open their bag to find an unpleasant surprise - their pricey pig had been swapped for a much less expensive cat.

    据说,在中古时期,农民会到集市去买猪。大多数时候,这些农民付钱后就会拿到装在麻袋里的猪。但如果他们是从不良商贩那里买的,农民打开麻袋后会惊愕地发现高价买来的猪居然被替换成不值钱的猫。

    But as Mental Floss notes, there are quite a few holes with this theory.

    不过,Mental Floss网站指出,这一说法漏洞百出。

    Baker's dozen查验面包师的诚信

    You may be thankful to count on that 13th roll in your baker's dozen, but you can think a rather sinister rule for its creation.

    从面包师那里买了一打面包,结果一数有13个,你可能还挺感激的,但是baker's dozen的起源却和一条残忍的规定有关。

    It all traces back to a 13th-century British rule called the Assize of Bread and Ale. The rule stated that if bakers were caught selling smaller or low-quality bread to customers, they could have their hands chopped off.

    这要追溯到13世纪英国一项名为《面包和麦酒法令》的法规。这条法规规定,如果面包师被发现卖给顾客不足量或劣质的面包,这些面包师的双手就会被剁掉。

    That's why it was just easier to throw a 13th piece into the pile — thus creating the baker's dozen.

    所以往一打面包里多放一个就更保险一些,于是,面包师的一打(baker's dozen)就成了13个。

    Meeting a deadline曾经真的是“死线”

    When you get that big report to your boss on time, "meeting a deadline" is a good thing. But the phrase was coined during the American Civil War and had some deadly consequences.

    如果你准时将重要报告交给领导,meeting a deadline就是好事。但这个短语是在美国内战期间被发明的,当时可是会招来致命的后果。


    The deadline was apparently a line inside of the area where Federal prisoners of war were kept. If a prisoner attempted to cross the line, they would be shot, according to Bloomsbury International.

    布鲁姆斯伯里国际英语学校称,很显然,deadline是联邦监狱中战犯关押区内的一条线。如果有犯人试图越过这条线,他们就会被枪毙。
2018/08/23 16:42
更新于 2018/08/23 16:42 举报
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