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[翻译字幕]Words and Their Stories - Chip on Your Shoulder

Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.

现在是美国之音慢速英语词汇典故节目。

Every week at this time we tell the story of words and expressions used in American English. Some of them are old. Some are new. Together, they form the living speech of the American people.

每周的这个时间,我们都会讲述美式英语中的词汇典故。这些典故中有一些是古老的,有些是新的。它们共同构成了美国人们的生活用语。

Some popular expressions are a mystery -- no one is sure how they developed.

有些常用说法是一个谜,没人能确定它们是如何产生的。

One of these is the expression “carry a chip on your shoulder.” A person with a chip on his shoulder is a problem for anybody who must deal with him. He seems to be expecting trouble. Sometimes he seems to be saying “I’m not happy about anything, but what are you going to do about it?”

其中一个这样的说法就是:carry a chip on your shoulder(准备随时吵嘴、打架的样子 )。这种随时准备干仗的人对任何必须要和他打交道的人来说都是个问题。他似乎在等着找麻烦。有时他的样子看上去就像在说,“我就是对什么都不爽,但你又能怎样吧?”

A chip is a small piece of something, like a chip of wood. How did this chip get on a person’s shoulder? Well, experts say the expression appears to have been first used in the United States more than 100 years ago.

Chip是指一些东西的碎屑,例如木头碎屑。碎屑怎么会跑到人的肩膀上去呢?专家表示,这种说法似乎在100多年前首次在美国应用。

One writer believes that the expression might have come from an old saying. The saying warns against striking too high, or a chip might fall into your eye. That could be good advice. If you strike high up on a tree with an axe, the chip of wood that is cut off will fall into your eye. The saying becomes a warning about the dangers of attacking people who are in more important positions than you are.

一位作家相信这一说法可能来自一句谚语。这个谚语警告人们砍木头时不要砍的太高,否则碎屑可能会落到眼睛里。这应该是一个很好的建议。如果你用斧头砍树时砍的位置太高,砍掉的木头碎屑就会落到你的眼睛里。这个谚语变成了人们袭击比自己位置更重要的人的危险警告。

Later, in the United States, some people would put a real chip on their shoulder as a test. They wanted to start a fight. They would wait for someone to be brave enough to try to hit it off.

后来在美国,一些人会在肩膀上放上真正的碎屑作为测试。他们想挑起事端,看谁敢将这些碎屑打落。
 

Competitors cut a tree trunk with axes in Munich, Germany.

The word “chip” appears in a number of special American expressions. Another is “chip off the old block.” This means that a child is exactly like a parent. This expression goes back at least to the early 1600s. The British writer of plays, George Colman, wrote these lines in 1762:

Chip还出现在很多特殊的美国说法中。另一个说法是chip off the old block,意思是酷像父母的小孩子。这个说法至少要追溯到17世纪初。英国剧作家乔治·科尔曼(George Colman)在1762年这样写道:

“You’ll find him his father’s own son, I believe. A chip off the old block, I promise you!”

“我相信,你会发现他就是他父亲的亲生儿子。我向你保证,他们就像一个模子里刻出来的。”

The word “chip” can also be used in a threatening way to someone who is suspected of wrongdoing. An investigator may say, “We’re going to let the chips fall where they may.” This means the investigation is going to be complete and honest. It is also a warning that no one will be protected from being found guilty.

Chip还可以用来威胁涉嫌不法行为的人。调查人员可能会说,“We’re going to let the chips fall where they may.(我们将采取行动不计后果)。”意思是,调查过程将是全面和诚实的。这也是一个警告,即任何人都不能逃脱法律的制裁。

Chips are often used in card games. They represent money. A poker player may, at any time, decide to leave the game. He will turn in his chips in exchange for money or cash. This lead to another meaning: A person who finished or died was said to have “cashed in his chips,” which is a way of saying it is time for me to finish this program.

Chips(筹码)还常用于纸牌游戏中,它们代表的是钱。扑克牌玩家可能随时会决定离开这个游戏。他会把自己的筹码兑换成现金或支票。这引申出另一个意思。一位完成工作或去世的人会被说成have cashed in his chips(筹码已兑现,引申意思是工作完成或去世了)。用这个说法也能表示,是时候结束这次节目了。

You have been listening to the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.

I’m Warren Scheer.