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Nay saying

[ 2010-08-19 10:17]     字号 [] [] []  
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Nay saying

Reader’s question:  At the same time, the bond market may not be an obstacle. Snow heard caution but little nay saying when he made a pilgrimage to Wall Street last week.

Could you explain “but little nay saying”?

My comments:

Snow heard caution (people say “Careful”, for instance) but little nay saying – few people say “No, this can’t be done”.

That’s why Snow believes the bond market may not be an obstacle because few people are downright opposed to his plans.

Nay is an old English word for “no”. “Nay saying” means “no-saying”, or saying “No”. People who say “No” are called “naysayers” – they oppose, deny, or take a pessimistic view of a certain situation. In the current example, Snow is confident because even though he heard people advising “Caution”, he met few nay-sayers.

Nay-sayers, by the way, not no-sayer. As AlphaDictionary.com explains: “A nay-sayer then is the same as a no-sayer, except that nay-sayer has stuck in the language, making no-sayer unnecessary.”

History and tradition, alright?

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Go to Zhang Xin's column


About the author:

Zhang Xin 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.