Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.
Expressions about water are almost as common as water itself. But many of the expressions using water have unpleasant meanings.
The expression to be "in hot water” is one of them. It is a very old expression. “Hot water” was used 500 years ago to mean "being in trouble." One story says it got that meaning from the custom of throwing extremely hot water down on enemies attacking a castle.
to be in hot water（处于困境）就是其中之一。这个习语非常古老。Hot water 在 500 年前就为人们所使用，意指处于困境。Hot water 演变成这个意思据说是源于向攻打城堡的敌人泼极其滚烫的水的作战传统。
That no longer happens, but we still “get in hot water.” When we are “in hot water” we are in trouble. It can be any kind of trouble -- serious or not so serious. A person who breaks a law can be “in hot water” with the police. A young boy can be “in hot water” with his mother if he walks in the house with dirty shoes.
Being in “deep water” is almost the same as being “in hot water.” When you are in deep water, you are in a difficult position. Imagine a person who cannot swim being thrown in water over his head.
being in deep water 几乎和 being in hot water 意思一样。当你处于深水之中时，就是处于困境之中。想象一不会游泳的人被扔进没过头顶的水里的情景。
You are “in deep water” when you are facing a problem that you do not have the ability to solve. The problem is too deep. You can be “in deep water,” for example, if you invest in stocks without knowing anything about the stock market.
“To keep your head above water” is a colorful expression that means staying out of debt. A company seeks to keep its head above water during economic hard times. A man who loses his job tries to keep his head above water until he finds a new job.
To keep your head above water（让头露在水面上；勉强度日或勉强维持生计）是一个很生动的习语，它的意思是避免负债。公司在经济困难时期努力维持运作。丢掉工作的人在找到新工作前设法勉强维持生计。
“Water over the dam” is another expression about a past event. It is something that is finished. It cannot be changed. The expression comes from the idea that water that has flowed over a dam cannot be brought back again.
Water over the dam（水已过坝；木已成丹）是另一个关于已经过去的事情的习词。它是指事情已经发生，结果无法改变。这个习词源自流过大坝的水不可能再收回的思想。
When a friend is troubled by a mistake she has made, you might tell her to forget about it. You say it is water over the dam.
Another common expression, “to hold water,” is about the strength or weakness of an idea or opinion that you may be arguing about. It probably comes from a way of testing the condition of a container. If it can hold water, it is strong and has no holes in it. If your argument can “hold water” it is strong and does not have any holes. If it does not “hold water” then it is weak and not worth debating.
另一个常用习语 hold water（滴水不漏）指的是人们所争论的观念或观点的强弱。这个习语可能源自检查容器情况的方法。如果它能装住水，就表明它很坚固，里面没有漏洞。如果你的论据可以滴水不漏，那么它就是强有力的，没有任何漏洞。如果有漏洞，那它就没有说服力，不值一辩。
“Throwing cold water” also is an expression that deals with ideas or proposals. It means to not like an idea. For example, you want to buy a new car because the old one has some problems. But your wife “throws cold water” on the idea because she says a new car costs too much.
Throwing cold water （泼冷水），也是跟想法或建议有关的习语。它是指不喜欢某个想法。例如，你想买辆新车，因为那辆旧的有些毛病。但你的妻子对这个想法泼冷水，因为她说新车太贵。
This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written by Marilyn Christiano.
I’m Rich Kleinfeldt.