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牛年学“牛”词
[ 2009-01-28 08:30 ]

 

sacred cow:神圣不可侵犯

Sacred cow这个说法来源于本世纪初的印度。在印度,牛是神圣的,它们可以在马路上大摇大摆地走,即便影响交通也没有人敢碰它们,因为印度古代的宗教习惯是保护它们的。但是,作为习惯用语,sacred cow是指某个人,或某样东西,从来没有受到批评或嘲笑,即便在应该批评的时候也没有人敢这样做,就像印度的牛一样。

One of our biggest sacred cows is the national social security program which pays many older Americans a pension

我们最神圣不可侵犯的项目之一就是为美国老年人提供退休金的全国社会保障计划。

This has become her sacred cow - nothing can change her schedule rain or shine.

这已经成为她神圣不可侵犯的活动了,什么事都不能改变她的日程,真是雷打不动。

牛年学“牛”词

cash cow:摇钱树

A cash cow is a business that is very profitable.利润丰厚的项目。

The new movie theater that they just opened by campus is a real cash cow.

学校旁边新开的那家电影院真是个摇钱树。

Play the lute to a cow: 对牛弹琴

也写作to cast pearls before swine/ preach to deaf ears

指那些说话或写东西不考虑到听众的人。 一般来说,是说话人或作者高估了听众或读者,所以,这则成语嘲讽的主要是听众或观众,而不是说话者。

to kill the fatted calf: 热情款待或者欢迎离家多年的人

Sorry this meal isn't much, John. We didn't have time to kill the fatted calf.

约翰,很抱歉,饭菜不多,我们来不及设宴欢迎你。

a bull in a china shop: 一只闯进了瓷器店的公牛

to often drop or break things because you move awkwardly or roughly.

牛犊在西方文化中往往是褒义的,公牛的形象则并非如此。虽然公牛非常勇猛,但它往往表示卤莽。“a bull in a china shop”(一只闯进了瓷器店的公牛)表示既笨拙而又有破坏性的人,有时又可以指明显缺乏机智的人。

While the wife was out, the husband tried to cook a meal in the kitchen, but he was just like a bull in a china shop.

妻子外出时,丈夫想在厨房做饭,结果弄得乱其八糟。

like a bull at a(five-barred)gate:做事情做得很快,雷厉风行,快刀斩乱麻,

if you do something like a bull at a gate, you do it very quickly.

He wants to finish the shelves today so he's going at them like a bull at a gate.

他想今天把架子做好,所以做得非常快。

The Augean Stable(s) :奥吉亚斯的牛圈(肮脏的地方,藏垢纳秽之所,积弊)

这种说法源自古希腊神话中关于赫拉克勒斯的英雄传说。奥吉亚斯(Augeas)是古希腊西部厄利斯(Elis)的国王。他有一个极大的牛圈,里面养了2000头年(一说3000匹马),30年来未清扫过,粪秽堆积如山,十分肮脏。因此,the Augean stable=very dirty place。在这里,stable除了泛指地点外,还可代表某些不良的制度,下流的习俗和恶劣的作风等等。由此,人们用the Augean stable这个成语来比喻非常的地方或长期形成的积弊。它常比to clean, to cleanse, to reform等动词连用,表示to bring about a drastic reform in some public evil的意思。

Although they know it is not easy to reform the Augean stables of this sociey, they are still trying to do it

尽管他们知道革除社会积弊非常困难,但他们仍然尽力去做。

The black Ox has trod on sb’s foot: 灾祸临头/某人已到老年

也写作The black ox has trampled on sb’s foot.

I know they have both suffered grief. They have has the black ox tread on their feet

我知道他俩都遭不幸。他们尝到了人世的悲痛。

have a cow (American):担心,不开心,生气.

I thought he was going to have a cow when I told him I'd lost his key.

我想当我告诉他我弄丢了他的钥匙时他会很生气。

ox-eyed:大眼睛

The ox-eyed goddess joined her husband, noticed the heifer, praised its beauty, and asked whose it was and of what herd

大眼女神走到丈夫身边,注目于那头小母牛,夸奖它的俊美,又问主人是谁,属于那个牛群。

fowl’s beak and ox buttocks:鸡口牛后

preferable to lead in petty position than to follow behind greater leader

"宁为鸡口,无为牛后"已广为流传,并被人们经常使用。它比喻宁愿在局面小的地方自主,而不愿在局面大的地方听人支配。

bull market:牛市

所谓“牛市”,也称多头市场,指证券市场行情普遍看涨,延续时间较长的大升市。 此处的证券市场,泛指常见的股票、债券、期货、选择权、外汇、可转让定存单、衍生性金融商品及其它各种证券。

bull point:优势,略胜一筹

A bull point for the Lancashire and Midland operators is the new monopoly position within the companies' own areas.

对兰开厦和米律兰的经营者来说,略胜一筹之处是他们在各自公司经营范围内所确立的新的垄断地位。

like a red rag to a bull:使人愤怒的, 令人极端烦恼的

if a statement or an action is like a red rag to a bull, it makes someone very angry.

For Claire, the suggestion of a women-only committee was like a red rag to a bull.

设立仅有女性的委员会的提议彻底激怒了克莱尔。

hit a bull’s eye:命中靶心,达到预定目标,取得成功.

In target shooting: a score made by hitting the center of the target

He hit a bull’s eye in their argument with that witty retort.

他以机智的反驳赢得了辩论胜利。

bull-headed:固执的,任性的,一根筋

someone who is bull-headed is determined to do exactly what they want to do, and does not think about what other people want.

He's completely bull-headed. I asked him not to throw out that old table, but he did it anyway.

他太固执了。我告诉他不要扔了那个旧桌子,但他到底还是扔了。

a cock-and-bull story荒诞的故事,无稽之谈

a story or explanation which is obviously not true.

She told me some cock-and-bull story about her car breaking down.

她给我讲的车如何坏掉的事情非常荒诞。

John Bull约翰牛,英国佬

a character who represents a typical English man or the English people.

“约翰牛”是英国人的绰号。19世纪的著名作家狄更斯就曾引用过。随着时间的推移,“约翰牛”的形象发生了耐人寻味的变化,由最初那个身强力壮、满脸横肉的中年船长想象,变成了一个年过半百、五短身材的矮胖子。于是漫画上出现的“约翰牛”,是个头戴宽边礼帽,足蹬翻口皮鞋,身穿茄克衫的绅士摸样。当年那种杀气腾腾的气概收敛不少,其原来的贬义似乎变成了褒义。“约翰牛”逐渐变成了一位饱经事故的实干家形象,他的行为成了英国的人的标准行为。这样一来,John bull这个成语就成了英国人或者英国的代名词了;而与之相关的John Bullism就指“英国精神”“英国习气”或“英国人的典型性格”,John Bullist则常指“英国迷”。

In the cartoon, John Bull appears as a short, stocky figure wearing a waistcoat with the British flag on.

在漫画中,“约翰牛”常以矮小健壮的形象出现,身穿印有英国国旗的背心。

Take the bull by the horns:遇到困难情形果断做出决定,当机立断

We'll have to take the bull by the horns and tackle the Medicare question.

我们必须当机立断,想办法解决医疗保险问题。

shoot the bull:惬意轻松聊天,随聊

We sat out on the porch until late, just shooting the bull.

我们在走廊外坐到很晚,随便聊了聊。

bull session: 漫谈,自由讨论

Some students of the economics department had a bull session last Sunday.

上星期天,经济系的一些学生聚集在一起漫谈。

Till the cows come home:很久,无限期

从前乳牛未经人工改造,每年都有不产奶时期。在产奶时期,它们乳房充盈,不挤奶会很不舒服,自然会主动回家给人挤奶;但是,在不产奶时期,要它们主动回家,真不知要等多久了。所以,till the cows come home有“很久”、“无限期”的意思。

:He is very long-winded and will keep on talking till the cows come home

他是个话篓子,会说个不停的。

holy cow: 对某事表示惊讶, 惊奇, 愤怒等.

牛年学“牛”词

"A friend of mine is in Hollywood filming a movie this month." "Holy cow, that must be so cool."

“我的一个朋友这个月正在好莱坞拍电影。”“天哪,这太酷了!”

as awkward as a cow on roller skates:非常笨拙,笨手笨脚.

The little girl was as awkward as a cow on roller skates when she first began riding her bicycle.

这个小女孩刚骑自行车的时候笨手笨脚

milk the bull: 做徒劳无功的事,缘木求鱼

Susan tried everything to train her daughter into a lady, but it seems that she is milking the bull.

苏姗千方百计想把她女儿训练成个淑女,可这些似乎都是徒劳。

as dumb as an ox沉默不语

He was as dumb as an ox in the meeting. 开会时他沉默不语。

play the giddy ox:胡闹,干蠢事

Don’t you play the giddy ox with me!你们别跟我耍赖撒疯!

throw /shoot the bull:吹牛,夸张

He likes to throw the bull. 他喜欢吹牛

与“牛”有关的谚语

You cannot flay the same ox twice一头牛不能剥两次皮。

The cow that's first up gets the first of the dew.早起母牛先得露。

Not all butter that the cow yields.母牛所产的未必全是黄油。

Many good cows have evil calves.很多好母牛,会生坏小犊(虎父生犬子)。

You cannot sell the cow and sup the milk.凡事难两全。鱼与熊掌不可兼得

Old oxen have stiff horns.牛老角硬。

The ox is never woe, till he to the harrow go.挂耙去耕地,牛才知辛苦。

The ox when weariest treads surest.牛困走得稳

The cow knows not what her tail is worth until she has lost it.有时不爱惜,失后徒叹息。

a young ox learns to plough from an older one:小牛向老牛学习耕地(喻老手和新手间的师徒关系)

An ox is taken by the horns, and the man by the tongue. 牛因角被执,人因舌陷身。

He that will have his farm full, must keep an old cock and a young bull.农家想富裕,壮牛老公鸡。

If the ox falls, whet your knife:牛一倒,快磨刀;人遭难,众人踩。

Why buy the cow when the milk is free. 何必为了一棵树而放弃整片森林

A lamb is as dear to a poor man as an ox to the rich. 穷人眼中的一只羊,贵似富人一头牛。

不能直译为“牛”的汉语说法:

牛饮drink like a fish

牛脾气as stubborn as a mule

吹牛talk horse

食量大如牛to eat like a horse

九牛一毛:a drop in the bucket

牛马不如的生活to lead a dog’s life

初生牛犊不怕虎:Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

健壮如牛as strong as a horse

如果遇到谚语“力大如牛”,英语中却没有 as strong as a cow的说法。在历史上战争频繁的西方,没有马便无法生存。而在中国,牛则是生活之本。在这种文化差异的背景下,上句话当然不能直译。所以英语把“力大如牛”译为 as strong as a horse。

不同的“牛”

细数起来,英语中与“牛”相对应的词有bull,cow,calf和ox等,这些“牛”与汉语文化中的“牛”存在许多不同的国俗语义。

bull(公牛)

在英语中,“公牛”常指“体壮如牛的人”,同时还具有“桀骜不驯”“恃强凌弱”的国俗语义。1712年,英国作家约翰阿布斯诺特(John Arbuthnot)在其讽刺小说《约翰牛的生平》(The History of John Bull)中塑造了主人公“约翰牛”(John Bull),意在通过这个赳赳武夫的形象暗喻当年英国人的“专横跋扈”。随着岁月的流逝,John Bull一词的贬义已经逐渐消失,“约翰牛”现成了“英国人”的代名词。

cow(母牛)

英语中的“母牛”含有“懦弱”“胆怯”的意思,cow-hearted、cowish均含此义。相关的例句如The men were cowed into total submission.(这些人被吓得服服帖帖。)此外,cow还常被用来指“肥胖笨拙的女人(或婆娘)”。牛在印度文化中是神圣的,受此影响,英语在本世纪初出现了习惯用语“sacred cow”,用以指“神圣不可侵犯的思想、机构、制度等”。

calf(小牛)

英语中的“小牛”指“愚蠢的胆小鬼”或“稚嫩的人”,短语“calf love”常用来指“少男少女对异性的短暂爱情”或“初恋”。《圣经出埃及记》(Exodus)第32章讲到,古犹太人在摩西(Moses)上西奈山之际逼其哥哥铸成一头金牛犊来供大家顶礼膜拜。因此,英语中“worship the golden calf”指“为了物质利欲而放弃原则”或“崇拜金钱”的意思。

ox(阉割的公牛)

“ox”一词在英语中含有“愚蠢”“呆头呆脑”“笨拙”等义。英语中用“dumb ox”或“as dumb as an ox”描述“呆滞(或笨拙、沉默寡言)的人”;“play the giddy ox”则指“胡闹、干蠢事”。

 
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