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The Hong Kong dog

 

一次在一堂电脑课上,铃响后,系里的女秘书突然跑到教室来宣布:“Dr. Walker has a touch of the Hong Kong dog and will be here a little bit late.”

听完宣布后,我一脸正经的向坐在隔壁的美国朋友抱怨说:“Dr. Walker 怎么可以抚弄他的爱犬以至于来不及上课呢?

老美听完后居然大笑着说:真是太好笑了!The Hong Kong dog 并非指一种狗,而是指某人吃坏了肚子、拉肚子的意思。这一解释让我尴尬得无地自容。

 

Throw the book at Somebody

 

和先生从car wash(洗车场)里开出来,车上的水珠还依稀可见,这让先生想起一件事:曾经有一个美国人在高速公路上超速开车,时速达100多英里。警察当然把他截下来。在法庭上,他辩解之所以开快车,是因为想让风尽快把刚刚洗过的车吹干。我听了好笑,更好奇结果如何。

先生答曰:结果是"They threw the book at him"。我不禁诧异,想像着他被"砸书"的样子。原来并非如此,"Throw the book at somebody"是指给某人最大极限的惩罚:charge someone to the full range of law。如果法律是一本书,那么这本书中所有被违犯了的条例,他都将为之遭受最严重的惩罚。

 

Tighten your belt

 

刚刚才发薪水,有人提议这个周末大家一起上馆子打打牙祭。我因为想要减肥,好穿新近买的一条短裙,推辞说: "No, I don't think I can make it. I want to tighten my belt."

后来,Mary悄悄地问我:如果你最近手头不方便的话, 我能帮你什么忙吗?


不会啊,不是早晨才发了薪水吗?我被她问得一头雾水,解释半天才弄明白。原来, "tighten my belt" 是指经济拮据,必须节衣缩食度日。例如: "The harvest was bad last year, we all had to tighten our belts."

 

Turn the table

 

一位亲戚和妻子失和到了要离婚的地步。几天前接到亲戚电话,说他们在走进律师楼之前,先去求助于心理和婚姻问题专家。夫妇俩心平气和地坐下来谈了好多次,互相之间多了一份理解,少了一份猜疑、埋怨,结果化干戈为玉帛。说简单也简单,就这么拯救了这场婚姻。

我打心眼里为他们高兴,把这一消息告诉了同样也认识他们的一位美国朋友。这位朋友挺激动的,连连说着"感谢上帝,感谢上帝",她还补充了一句"He turned the table"

这话让我心里很不舒服,她是指我亲戚动粗吗?我打抱不平说:"不会,不会,他很斯文,很有绅士风度,不会以粗鲁的举动压制对方,不会以高压让对方屈从。"

结果,越说谁也听不懂谁。看着我那一脸不快的表情,朋友突然茅塞頓开了,以另一种方法向我解释。终于让我明白,她是说我亲戚"扭转了局面",那"table"和我想到的"桌子"根本无关。

再说远一点, turn the tables (on someone)这个短语也和"桌子'没什么关系, 它的意思是to suddenly take a position of strength or advantage that was formerly held by someone else (反败为胜,转弱为强), 例如: "She played badly in the first set, but then she turned the tables on her opponent and won the match.