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英文字眼

在美国有许多常用的字眼,往往使学习英语的中国人感到不解。

1. Head Start:如果这两个字开头的字母是大写,则连在一起是一个专有名词,指的是美国政府为贫穷或弱智的儿童设立的一种训练机构,帮助他们,希望他们在进小学之前能赶上教学进度。也就是:U.S. government tries to give extra - help for those underprivileged children before entering first grade. (underprivileged 比 poor 更委婉些)
例如: Many poor parents send their children to Head Start.
但是如果head start的字母是小写,那么就是普通名词了,是指比別人早着手,或领先、 有利,即:advance start or advantage
例如:In order to give his son a head start, the father decided to send him to a private kindergarten.(为了让他的儿子有好的开始,他决定把儿子送到私立幼儿园去。)
To know more colloquial expressions is a head start in learning English. (了解更多的俗语对学习英语有好处。)

2. blue blood:是指有钱人或出身富家的人 (rich or wealthy people)
例如:He has blue blood.或He is blue blooded (person).
Mr. Lin comes from a blue blooded family. (林先生出身豪门。)
Some people do not want to admit that they have blue blood. (有些人不愿承认自己是富家出身。)
Many blue blooded children attend this private school. (许多有钱人家的孩子就读这所私立学校。)

3. bed of roses:意思是称心如意的境遇;美好、理想的”安乐窝”(everything seems to be wonderful)
例如:Life is not always a bed of roses. (生活未必都是称心如意的。)
Young people think that marriage will be a bed of roses. (年轻人都认为婚姻是美好的。)

4. from soup to nuts:意思是从头到尾,自始至终;或是一应俱全,完整详尽(多半是指物品方面)。
例如:This store sells everything from soup to nuts. (这家商店出售的货品一应俱全。)
My office is supplied from soup to nuts. (我办公室里的用品十分齐全。)
但是如果指知识丰富的话,则不用这个词,而是通常用 from A to Z来表达,。
例如:Mr. Greenspan knows economics from A to Z. (格林斯潘先生在经济方面的知识非常丰富。)

5. real blast:blast 本来是指”一阵狂风”。但在口语中则是指欢乐,或玩得愉快,很尽兴 (have a good time; usually refers to a party or gathering.)
例如:Miss Su had a (real) blast at the party. (苏小姐在派对上玩得很痛快。)
I hope our get-together will be a (real) blast. (我希望我们相聚的时光是愉快的。)
注:blast 前面用 real 形容,是起到加强语气的作用。

6. off-limits:意思是禁止入內;限制进出或不准使用,也就是关闭 (closed or not available)例如:The library will be off-limits to the public until re-carpeting project is completed. (新地毯铺好之前,图书馆闭馆。)
The teachers have the use of a john that is off-limits to students.(学生不得使用教师厕所。) (john小写的时候才是指厕所。)
或 This bathroom is off-limits to students.

7. next of kin:是指家人或者近亲(closest relatives or anyone in the family)。 在美国,所谓”亲人”也是依每个人的不同情況而定的,可能是夫妇、父母、儿女,或是叔叔婶婶、表兄弟姐妹。
例如:If a person has a serious car accident, his or her next of kin will be notified. (如果遭遇严重车祸,当事人的亲属就会接到通知。)
At the funeral all next of kin were in attendance. (所有的亲属都参加了葬礼。)
The doctor should discuss the prognosis candidly with the next of kin. (医生应该把诊断结果坦白地告知病人家属。)
All his property will eventually go to his next of kin. (他的所有财产最终都给了他的亲人。)
如果”kin”单独使用,用作家属或亲属的总称,则通常后面不加 s。
例如:All my kin attended the family get-together. (我们全家集聚一堂。)

8. fair-weather friend:这是指一些只能同安乐而不能共患难”酒肉”朋友(being friend only during favorable time)
例如:A fair-weather friend will not contact you during your time of hardship. (当你陷入困境的时候,那些酒肉朋友是不会主动联络你的。)
When she ignored him during his financial problem, he knew she was a fair-weather friend. (当他经济紧张时,她对他根本不理不睬;他知道她只在他处于顺境的时候才是”朋友”。)

9. real bomb:在口语里是指在公众场所或舞台上表演失败或表现欠佳。通常与 real 用在一起。
例如:The show was a real bomb, so I cut out early. (这个剧很糟糕,所以我提前退场了。)(cut out = leave)
如果 bomb 作名词用,意思就是炸弹;作动词,则是轰炸,或失败、极坏的意思。(very bad) 例如: A U.S. fighter dropped a bomb over Iraq. (一架美国轰炸机往伊拉克扔了一颗炸弹) (作名词)= A U.S. fighter bombed Iraq. (作动词)
The play has bombed. (这场戏演砸了)
值得注意的是:”real bomb”有時也指”真正的炸弹”。例如:
The police found a real bomb in the building. (警察在建筑物中发现了一颗真炸弹)
 
10. neck and neck:不相上下,难分高低。(remain tie in any competition)
例如:The horses came in neck and neck across the finish line. (赛马到达终点时难分上下)
Last year George Bush and Al Gore almost remained neck and neck in the race for White House. (去年布什和戈尔在大选中几乎不分上下)
(注:也有人写成:neck-and-neck)

11. through thick and thin:甘苦与共,共同分担艰难困苦 (go through all adversity)
例如:She feels like a fool for sticking with her husband through thick and thin.((她觉得和丈夫一起吃苦受罪太傻了)
He has walked through thick and thin during the past five years. (过去的五年中,他历尽辛酸)

12. cry wolf:”狼来了”的假警报。(false alarm; call attention for something which is not true or not serious)
例如:Don’t cry wolf unless you really need help.(除非你真的需要帮助,不然不要发”狼来了”的假警报)
Crying wolf is not a responsible behavior. (发假警报是不负责任的行为)
Parents should teach their children not to cry wolf. (父母应该教育孩子不要喊”狼来了”的假警报)
 
13. banner year:意思是特别得意或特别好的一年(如升官、加薪、赢得奖励等等)(a wonderful or fantastic year)
例如:This has been a banner year for Mrs. Lin.(这是林太太最得意的一年)
With a promotion and marriage, he really had a banner year in 1998.(1998 年他又升职又结婚,真是非常的得意)
有时老外也用 banner month,但不用 banner day。
例如:Mr. A had a banner month at his car dealership. (A先生这个月的车子卖的很好)

14. shell company:这是指假冒或有名无实的公司行号,也就是所谓「皮包」公司。(fake company; just make it up)
例如:They used fake receipts from shell companies with no staff or premises. (他们的假公司没有员工和经营场址,却开出了假收据)
Shell companies are illegal in the U.S. (在美国开皮包公司是犯法的) (company 的复数是 companies)

15. no dice:意思是不可能发生的事情,不会改变的,徒劳的,无用的;也就是”不行”。(something not going to happen; not going to change; absolutely not)(dice本意是骰子,单复数相同)
例如:No dice, I will not change my position on this matter. (不行,我不会对这件事改变立场)
There was no dice he would be able to get this job. (他不可能得到这份工作) (no dice = no way)
He asked her for more money, but she said no dice to him. (他要她多给些钱,但她说不行)
I tried to contact Mr. Wang, but no dice.(设法与王先生联络,但是徒劳无功)

16. dislocated worker:指失业或正在找工作的人(refers to a person who lost a job or still looking for a job) (老外为了礼貌含蓄,才有此说法)
例如:There are 200 dislocated workers in our community when the company closed its door. (公司倒闭后,我们社区里有两百人失业了)
To avoid being a dislocated worker, one needs a good education with skills. (为了不失业,个人需要接受一些良好技能的教育)

17. stick-in-the-mud:这是指一些落伍保守,墨守成规者;或是思想落后,毫无进取心的人,就像陷入泥淖一样。(old fashioned or unprogressive person)(多作名词用)
例如:He is a boring stick-in-the-mud. (他是一个循规蹈矩的人)
Being a stick-in-the-mud, people don’t value his opinions.(他是呆头呆脑的,大家都不重视他的意见)
(注:如果是专指”老顽固”,通常是用 old fogy 或 old foggy;不过 stick-in-the-mud 既可指年轻人又可指老人)

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