Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.
Thanksgiving. Just as it sounds, Thanksgiving is a holiday when people give thanks for all the good in their lives.
Americans celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November. Family and friends gather around the dinner table, eat a big meal together and say what they are thankful for.
In other words, they count their blessings.
To count your blessing is to be grateful for all your good fortune in life. But sometimes we use it as a warning to people who may forget to be thankful.
Here’s is an example of how to use it that way:
I am so mad at my mother-in-law. She has invited the whole family on a Mediterranean cruise even though she knows that I get sea sick.
You know, you should really count your blessings. You have a great family who loves you and wants to spend money on you! Be thankful. Some people have it much worse.
A blessing is something that helps you or brings you happiness.
The word “blessing” comes from Old English, meaning “blood.” As the word evolved, it borrowed from the Latin word that means to praise or worship – literally, “to speak well of.”
The verb “bless” is a word you hear often in American English. This is because “Bless you!” is a common response to someone when they sneeze.
Speaking in a non-religious way, “bless” means to make something lucky or happy. In a religious way, “bless” means to ask God to care for, protect, or make something or someone holy.
And if a person talks about a blessed event they are talking about expecting a child. This is slightly romantic, a little formal and a lot religious. So, use accordingly.
And please take note of the difference between “blessed” and “bles-sed.” “Blessed” is the past tense of the verb “bless,” but “blessed” is the adjective.
The word “bless” definitely has religious roots and meanings. But we use the word in other expressions as well.
If something is a mixed blessing, it is both good and bad. For example, being beautiful can be a mixed blessing. You may get positive attention for your beauty. But people may also be too shy to talk to you or look at you as being not very smart.
如果事情喜忧参半（ mixed blessing），也就是有利有弊。例如，漂亮就是喜忧参半。你可能会因为美丽受到积极关注，但是人们也可能羞于和你交谈，或者视你为不是很聪明。
We might also express this same meaning by saying something is a blessing and a curse.
我们还能说某件事既是幸事又是祸根（a blessing and a curse），这表达的是同样的意思。
A blessing in disguise is something that seems to be bad or unlucky at first sight, but actually turns out to be good.
因祸得福（A blessing in disguise）意思是最初看似不幸，但实际被证明是好事。
For example, my trip to New York City was canceled. However, the cancellation was a blessing in disguise. A big snow storm hit and shut down all the airports. I would have been stranded at the airport for days.
Now blessing someone may sound like a good thing, but sometimes it is not.
When someone, often a woman, says bless her heart about another, it means she feels sorry for that person. She is usually expressing pity more than concern. Truth be told, it is often a way of insulting someone indirectly without making yourself look bad for doing so.
当有人，通常是女人，对另一个人说bless her heart，意思是她对那个人心怀抱歉。通常她更多表达的是表示怜悯而不是关心。说实话，这通常是间接侮辱别人，而又不让自己看上去做得很恶劣的一种方式。
“Bless her heart” is a common expression in the southern U.S. states. So, it sounds more natural when pronounced with a slight southern accent.
“Bless her heart”在美国南部各州是一种常用表达。因此，当我们用轻微的南方口音说出来的时候，听上去就更加自然。
However, when someone says another person is blessed with a quality or talent, they really mean it. For example, “He is blessed with athletic abilities.” Or “She is blessed with a beautiful singing voice.”
And we at VOA Learning English are especially blessed with a great audience who loves learning English!
I’m Anna Matteo.