Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.
Everyone probably knows when we wash something, we make it clean. Just about anything that gets dirty can be washed to become clean again.
Or I should say, almost anything.
The expression "It will not wash" seems to say that there are some things that cannot come clean. Let's hear this expression used in a story.
Young Mr. Smith had an idea for his employer. It was an idea for saving money for the company by increasing prices. At the same time, Smith suggested that the company sell goods of less value. If his employer liked the idea, Smith might be given more pay. Perhaps he might even get a better job with the company.
Business had been very slow. So Mr. Smith's employer thought a few minutes about the idea. But then she shook her head.
"I am sorry, Smith," his employer said. "It just will not wash."
Now, the meaning of these English words should be, "it will not get clean." Yet Smith's idea did not have anything to do with making something clean. So why did his employer say, "it will not wash?"
Most word experts agree that "it will not wash" means it will not work. Eric Partridge wrote that the saying probably developed in Britain in the 1800s. Charlotte Bronte used it in a story published in 1849. She wrote, "that wiln't wash, miss."
大多数单词专家都认为“它不会洗”意味着它不会起作用。 埃里克·帕特里奇（Eric Partridge）写道，这句话可能是在1800年代在英国发展的。 夏洛特·勃朗特（Charlotte Bronte）在1849年发表的一个故事中使用了它。她写道：“不会洗的，小姐。”
Ms. Bronte seems to have meant that the dyes used to color a piece of clothing were not good. The colors could not be depended on to stay in the material.
In 19th century England, the expression came to mean an undependable statement. It was used mainly to describe an idea. But sometimes it was used about a person.
在19世纪的英格兰，这种表达方式意味着一种不可靠的陈述。 它主要用于描述一个想法。 但是有时它被用于一个人。
A critic once said of the poet Robert Browning, "He won't wash." The critic did not mean that the poet was not a clean person. He meant that Browning's poems could not be depended on to last.
Today, we know that judgment was wrong. Robert Browning still is a considered a major poet. But very few people remember the man who said Browning would not wash.
评论家曾经对诗人罗伯特·布朗宁说：“他不会洗。” 评论家不是说诗人不是一个干净的人。 他的意思是布朗宁的诗歌不能持久。
今天，我们知道判断是错误的。 罗伯特·布朗宁仍然被认为是一位主要的诗人。 但是很少有人记得那个说勃朗宁不会洗的人。
Happily for the young employee Smith, his employer wanted him to do well in the company. So the employer "talked turkey" to him. She said, "Your idea would be unfair to our buyers. Think of another way to save money."
对于年轻的员工Smith来说，很高兴，他的老板希望他在公司中做得好。 因此，雇主对他“说火鸡”。 她说：“您的想法对我们的买家不公平。请考虑另一种省钱的方法。”
A century ago, "to talk turkey" meant to talk pleasantly. Turkeys in the barnyard were thought to be speaking pleasantly to one another. In recent years, the saying has come to mean an attempt to teach something important.
Mr. Smith thought of a better idea after his employer talked turkey to him. He was given an increase in pay. So if your idea "will not wash," try "talking turkey" to yourself and come up with a better idea.
一个世纪前，“谈论土耳其”意味着愉快地交谈。 人们认为the里的土耳其人彼此愉快。 近年来，这种说法已经意味着尝试教授一些重要的东西。
史密斯先生在他的老板跟他说火鸡之后，想到了一个更好的主意。 他得到了加薪。 因此，如果您的想法“不会洗”，请尝试对自己“说话火鸡”，并提出一个更好的想法。