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[翻译字幕]Words and Their Stories: Chickenfeed

来源:慢速英语   时间:2012-07-22 08:07:06


I'm Susan Clark with WORDS AND THEIR STORIES, a program in Special English on the Voice of America.

这里是美国之音慢速英语词汇典故栏目,我是苏珊·克拉克(Susan Clark)。

Almost every language in the world has a saying that a person can never be too rich.


Americans, like people in other countries, always want more money. One way they express this is by protesting that their jobs do not pay enough. A common expression is, "I am working for chickenfeed." It means working for very little money. The expression probably began because seeds fed to chickens made people think of small change. Small change means metal coins of not much value, like nickels which are worth five cents.

和其它国家的人一样,美国人也总是想赚到更多的钱。抗议薪水太少,就是他们表达这种愿望的一种方式,常见说法是:“我正在为了chickenfeed(chickenfeed,美国俚语,微不足道的金额,为数甚微的款项)而工作。”意思是为了微不足道的钱而工作。该短语的起源可能是因为喂鸡的饲料使人们想到了small change(零钱)的缘故。零钱就是面值低的硬币,例如5美分的硬币。

An early use of the word chickenfeed appeared in an American publication in nineteen thirty. It told about a rich man and his so​n. Word expert Mitford Mathews says it read, "I'll bet neither the kid nor his father ever saw a nickel or a dime. They would not have been interested in such chickenfeed."

chickenfeed一词最早见于1930年美国的一本刊物,讲述的是一对富人父子的故事。文字专家密特福德·马修斯(Mitford Mathews)称,文章这么写道:“我敢打赌,不管是儿子还是父亲都没见过5美分或10美分,他们就不会对这样的小钱感兴趣。”

Chickenfeed also has another interesting meaning known to history experts and World War Two spies and soldiers.


Spy expert Henry S. A. Becket writes that some German spies working in London during the war also worked for the British. The British government had to make the Germans believe their spies were working. So, British officials gave them mostly false information. It was called chickenfeed.

侦探专家亨利S.A.贝肯特(Henry S. A. Becket)写道,二战期间一些在伦敦工作的德国间谍也为英国效劳。英国政府必须使德国相信这些间谍仍在工作,所以,英国官员给这些间谍提供很多虚假信息,这被称为chickenfeed。

The same person who protests that he is working for chickenfeed may also say, "I am working for peanuts." She means she is working for a small amount of money.


It is a very different meaning from the main one in the dictionary. That meaning is small nuts that grow on a plant.


No one knows for sure how a word for something to eat also came to mean something very small. But, a peanut is a very small food.


The expression is an old one. Word expert Mitford Mathews says that as early as eighteen fifty-four, an American publication used the words peanut agitators. That meant political troublemakers who did not have a lot of support.

这是一个古老的表达方式。文字专家马修斯说,早在1854年,一家美国媒体就使用过peanut agitators(无人支持的鼓动者,煽动者)这个词汇。其意思是少有支持者的政坛捣乱分子。

Another reason for the saying about working for peanuts may be linked to elephants. Think of how elephants are paid for their work in the circus. They receive food, not money. One of the foods they like best is peanuts.

关于working for peanuts这一说法的另一个原因可能跟大象有关。想想看,马戏团里的大象如何被支付薪水?它们收到的是食物,而不是钱。它们最喜欢的食物之一就是花生。

When you add the word gallery to the word peanut you have the name of an area in an American theater. A gallery is a high seating area or balcony above the main floor.


The peanut gallery got its name because it is the part of the theater most distant from where the show takes place. So, peanut gallery tickets usually cost less than other tickets. People pay a small amount of money for them.

之所以得名peanut gallery(美俚,剧院之类的顶层楼座、边座,这种位置一般票价最低),因为它是离舞台最远的区域。因此,顶层楼座的票价比其他票价都低,人们花很少的钱就能买到。


This Special English program, WORDS AND THEIR STORIES, was written by Jeri Watson. This is Susan Clark.