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A fine kettle of fish

[ 2014-11-05 16:41] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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A fine kettle of fish真糟糕,钱忘带来了!

This is a fine kettle of fish! I forgot my money.


My comments:

In other words, you’ve found yourself in a fine mess, i.e. a very awkward situation.

Further explanation, from Phrase.org.uk:

The earliest uses of the phrase, which apparently are examples of the ‘muddle’ meaning come from the English novelist Henry Fielding. In The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews, 1742, he writes:

“‘Here’s a pretty kettle of fish’, cries Mrs. Tow-wouse.”

and, in The History of Tom Jones, 1749:

“Fine doings at my house! A rare kettle of fish I have discovered at last.”

Should there be any doubt about the meaning of the expression in Fielding’s uses of it, there’s an unambiguous explanation of the phrase in Francis Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1811:

“When a person has perplexed his affairs in general, or any particular business, he is said to have made a fine kettle of fish of it.”

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Go to Zhang Xin's column


About the author:

Zhang Xin(张欣) has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.