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Words and their stories: golden rules and golden oldies

[ 2010-06-07 13:41]     字号 [] [] []  
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Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

Throughout history, gold has been a sign of purity, beauty and power. Calling something golden means it has great quality and value.

For example, the golden rule is possibly the world's most widespread moral rule.

It says people should treat others the way they themselves would like to be treated. Every major religion has its own version of this idea.

The golden ratio is found in art, architecture and nature. It describes a rectangle with a length about one and one-half times its width. Objects using this ratio in their design seem to please the eye more than others.

Philosophers have their own golden idea. The golden mean says moderation in all things is the best way to live one's life. It is an idea linked to the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. Similar thoughts exist in Buddhism and Confucianism.

Ancient Greek myths told of a time long ago when people lived in peace and happiness. Poets called it the Golden Age. A golden age now describes a historical period of great artistic, scientific or economic progress. It can even recall a time of success and popularity for an industry. For example, the 1930s and 40s were called the Golden Age of Radio.

You may have heard the proverb silence is golden. This means silence is of great value. It is sometimes better to say nothing than to speak.

You might say your child was good as gold when he behaved well at school. British writer Charles Dickens used this expression in 1843. He was describing the child Tiny Tim in the book "A Christmas Carol."

In 1937, American playwright Clifford Odets wrote a play called "The Golden Boy." This expression describes a young man who has many good qualities and a bright future.

You might tell someone you are golden when that person does something very well.

Gold digger is another description. But this does not say something nice about a person. A gold digger is someone who seeks to marry a rich person because he or she is only interested in that person's money.

Maybe you like old songs from the 1950s or 60s that are still well known and popular today. These are called golden oldies.

In the 1980s and 90s, an American television comedy series told about four older women living in Miami, Florida. The Golden Girls often dealt with social issues in a funny way.

Today, most older people look forward to reaching their golden years. This is when hard-working people can retire to a life of ease and fulfillment.


This program was written by Mario Ritter. I'm Faith Lapidus. You can find more WORDS AND THEIR STORIES at our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.

golden: special; wonderful 特别的;美好的

golden rule: an important principle that should be followed when doing something in order to be successful 成功之重要原则;指导原则

golden ratio: 黄金比例

golden mean: 中庸之道

golden age: a period during which something is very successful, especially in the past (尤指过去的)黄金时代,鼎盛时期

silence is golden: it is often best not to say anything 沉默是金

good as gold: 很乖

gold digger: a person who has a relationship with someone who is rich in order to get money or expensive things from them 以美色骗取男人钱财的女人

golden oldies: songs that are still successful or popular even though they are quite old 老歌金曲

golden years: the time of life after retirement from active work (退休后的时光)

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(来源:VOA 编辑:陈丹妮)