Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.
A person’s nose is important for breathing and smelling. The nose is also used in many popular expressions.
Some people are able to lead other people by the nose. For example, if a wife leads her husband by the nose, she makes him do whatever she wants him to do.
Some people are said to be hard-nosed. They will not change their opinions or positions on anything. If someone is hard-nosed, chances are he will never pay through the nose, or pay too much money, for an object or service.
It is always helpful when people keep their nose out of other people’s business. They do not interfere. The opposite of this is someone who noses around all the time. This kind of person is interested in other people’s private matters. He is considered nosey.
Someone who keeps his nose to the grindstone works very hard. This can help a worker keep his nose clean or stay out of trouble.
One unusual expression is that is no skin off my nose. This means that a situation does not affect or concern me. We also say that sometimes a person cuts off his nose to spite his face. That is, he makes a situation worse for himself by doing something foolish because he is angry.
More problems can develop if a person looks down his nose at someone or something. The person acts like something is unimportant or worthless. This person might also turn up his nose at something that he considers not good enough. This person thinks he is better than everyone else. He has his nose in the air.
In school, some students thumb their nose at their teacher. They refuse to obey orders or do any work. Maybe these students do not know the correct answers. My mother always told me, if you study hard, the answers should be right under your nose or easily seen.
I think we have explained the nose expressions. What about ears? Well, I hope you are all ears or very interested in hearing more expressions. We might even put a bug in your ear or give you an idea about something. We also advise you to keep your ear to the ground. This means to be interested in what is happening around you and what people are thinking.
If you are a good person, you will lend an ear to your friends. You will listen to them when they have a problem they need to talk about. Our last expression is to play it by ear. This has two meanings. One is to play a song on a musical instrument by remembering the tune and not by reading the music. Play it by ear also means to decide what to do at the last minute instead of making detailed plans.
This VOA Special English program, WORDS AND THEIR STORIES, was written by Jill Moss. I’m Faith Lapidus.
1. lead by the nose 牵着鼻子走
eg: Don’t let anyone lead you by the nose, use your own judgment and do the right thing. 不要让人牵着鼻子走,自己有点主见,做该做的事情。
2. hard-nosed adj.顽强的,不屈不挠的,不讲情面的
3. pay through the nose
按字面解释,pay through the nose就是通过鼻子来付钱,这听起来似乎很痛苦,而实际上,pay through the nose的确切意思是付出比真正的价值高得多的钱,也可以说是付出的钱实在太多而让人感到心痛。eg: My brother Bob borrowed the money to open his restaurant five years ago when the interest rate was very high, so he’s been paying through the nose ever since.我哥哥鲍伯五年前借钱开饭馆的时候正好利率非常高,所以,他从那时起就一直在大笔大笔地还债。
4. keep one’s nose out of sth 避免插手(他人的事),尽量不卷入
eg: When Billy asked his sister where she was going, she told him to keep his nose out of her business. 当比利问他姐姐要去哪里时,她让他别管她的事。
5. nose around / about 找寻,打听(别人的事)
eg: We found a man nosing around in our backyard.我们发现有个人在我们后院里找什么东西。
6. nosy adj.好管闲事的,爱打听的
eg: Don’t be so nosy —it’s none of your business.别管那么多闲事——这与你无关。
7. keep one’s nose to the grindstone连续辛勤地工作
grindstone是"磨刀石"的意思。这个表达很形象,按字面意思来看,是说鼻子对着磨刀石。想象一下一个人低着头磨刀的样子,的确给人一种埋头苦干的直观印象啊。而且这个短语用动词keep表达一种持续的状态,把"埋头"的意思更生动地表达了出来。eg: These years those who’re keeping their nose to the grindstone can’t make bundles. 这年头,只会埋头苦干的人是挣不了什么大钱的。
8. keep one’s nose clean 循规蹈矩,不做违法的事
eg: Since leaving prison, he’s man-aged to keep his nose clean. 自从出狱以来,他尽量做到规规矩矩。
9. no skin of my nose不关我的事
字面意思是:没有我鼻子上的皮。乍听起来让人有些摸不着头脑,这一俗语的实际意思是:……与我无关,我不在乎。eg: Hey, it’s no skin of my nose if Susie’s going out now with that guy! I don’t care what she does —I broke up with her a month ago, when I met Helen. 嗨,苏茜现在是否跟那个家伙好,一起出去玩,这不关我的事！她干什么我都无所谓。我在遇到海伦以后就和她断了关系。
10. cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face (恼怒之下)伤人害己,损人不利己
eg: If you resign to inconvenience your boss, you are cutting off your nose to spite your face. 如果你辞职就是为了给你的老板找麻烦的话,那就是吃砒霜药老虎,伤人害己了。
据说,明代才子解缙幼年家住曹尚书府第竹园对面,在家门上贴了一副对联:"门对千竿竹,家藏万卷书。"曹尚书不忿自己的园景给他借用,于是叫人把竹砍短,最后索性全部砍去。解缙见了,随即把对联改为"门对千竿竹短无,家藏万卷书长有"。曹尚书不但没有难倒解缙,而且空自毁了自家的竹林,用英文来形容就是cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face。
11. look down one’s nose at 对……不屑一顾,蔑视
eg: Harry has never had to work, and he looks down his nose at people in business. 哈里从不需要上班,他也看不起上班的人。
12. turn up one’s nose at看不上,觉得不屑于(要、吃、做等)
eg: When I gave her the present, she turned up her nose at it.当我把礼物给她时,她很不屑。
13. have one’s nose in the air 非常傲慢,自高自大