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[翻译字幕]Words and Their Stories: Feel The Pinch

来源:慢速英语   时间:2012-04-01 09:07:17

词汇典故:手头拮据

I'm Susan Clark with the Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

这里是美国之音慢速英语词汇典故节目,我是苏珊·克拉克。

In the nineteen thirties, a song, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?," was very popular in the United States. It was the time of the big Depression. The song had meaning for many people who had lost their jobs.

在二十世纪三十年代的美国,一首“兄弟,能不能给我一角硬币?”的歌风靡一时。当时正是大萧条时期,这首歌对当时很多失业者来说意义非凡。

A dime is a piece of money whose value is one-tenth of a dollar. Today, a dime does not buy much. But it was different in the nineteen thirties. A dime sometimes meant the difference between eating and starving.

一角硬币是一种价值10美分的货币。今天,一角硬币买不到什么。但二十世纪三十年代时情况不同,一角硬币有时就意味着饥饱之别。

The American economy today is much better. Yet, many workers are concerned about losing their jobs as companies re-organize.

当前美国的经济比那时强多了。然而还是有很多工人担心在公司重组中失业。

Americans have special ways of talking about economic troubles. People in businesses may say they feel the pinch. Or they may say they are up against it. Or, if things are really bad, they may say they have to throw in the towel.

美国人用特别的方式来谈论经济困境。商界人士可能会说手头拮据(feel the pinch),或者他们可能说他们处境困难(up against it)。如果情况确实很糟糕,他们可能会说,他们不得不认输(throw in the towel)。

A pinch is painful pressure. To feel the pinch is to suffer painful pressure involving money.

pinch是一种非常疼痛的挤压。To feel the pinch是指在财务方面遭受非常沉重的压力。

The expression, feel the pinch, has been used since the sixteenth century. The famous English writer William Shakespeare wrote something very close to this in his great play "King Lear."

feel the pinch这个短语从16世纪一直沿用至今。英国著名作家威廉·莎士比亚(William Shakespeare)在他的巨剧《李尔王》中写下了一些很接近这个短语的内容。

King Lear says he would accept necessity's sharp pinch. He means he would have to do without many of the things he always had.

李尔王说,他将接受必需品的大幅削减。他的意思是,他会接受失去很多一直拥有的东西。

Much later, the Times of London newspaper used the expression about bad economic times during the eighteen sixties. It said, "so much money having been spent ... All classes felt the pinch."

多年以后,伦敦的《泰晤士报》使用这个短语描述19世纪60年代的经济困难时期。该报纸这么写到,“这么多钱已经花没了...社会各阶层都手头拮据。”

Worse than feeling the pinch is being up against it. The saying means to be in a lot of trouble.

比手头拮据更糟糕的是处境困难。意思是陷入一堆麻烦中。

Word expert James Rogers says the word "it" in the saying can mean any and all difficulties. He says the saying became popular in the United States and Canada in the late nineteenth century. Writer George Ade used it in a book called "Artie." He wrote, "I saw I was up against it."

词汇专家詹姆斯·罗杰斯(James Rogers)表示,这句短语中It代表着任何、所有困难。他说,19世纪末期这种说法开始在美国和加拿大流行。作家乔治·阿德(George Ade)在《Artie》一书中用到这句短语。他在书中写到,“我看到自己处境困难。”

Sometimes a business that is up against it will have to throw in the towel. This means to accept defeat or surrender.

有时一家处境困难的企业将不得不throw in the towel,意思是认输或放弃。

Throwing in the towel may mean that a company will have to declare bankruptcy. The company will have to take legal steps to let people know it has no money to pay its debts.

认输意味着该公司不得不宣布破产。该公司将必须采取合法步骤,告知人们它无力偿付债务。

Word expert Charles Funk says an eighteen seventy-four publication called the Slang Dictionary explains throwing in the towel. It says the words probably came from the sport of boxing, or prizefighting. The book says the saying began because a competitor's face was cleaned with a cloth towel or other material. When a boxer's towel was thrown, it meant he was admitting defeat.

词汇专家查尔斯·芬克(Charles Funk)说,一本1874年出版的俚语词典解释了throw in the towel这句短语。这本词典说,这句短语可能起源于拳击比赛,拳击手用毛巾或其它东西擦脸。当一名拳击手的毛巾被扔进来,就意味着他认输了。

Most businesses do not throw in the towel. They just re-organize so they can compete better.

大多数企业没有认输。它们只是重组以使他们能够更好地竞争。

(MUSIC)

This WORDS AND THEIR STORIES was written by Jeri Watson. I'm Susan Clark.

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