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WORDS AND THEIR STORIES(17) - Dime

时间:2006-03-09 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:sqp   字体: [ ]
    (单词翻译:双击或拖选)

WORDS AND THEIR STORIES - Dime1
By Jerry Watson

Broadcast: Sunday, August 22, 2004

Revised by Xiao Jinyin(jinyinx@***.com)

In the 1930s, a song "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" was very popular in the United States. It was the time of the Big Depression. The song had meaning for many people who had lost their jobs.

A dime is a piece of money whose value is one tenth of a dollar. Today a dime does not buy much. But it was different in the 1930s. A dime sometimes meant the difference between eating and starving. The American economy today is much better. Yet many workers are concerned about losing their jobs as companies reorganize. Americans have special ways of talking about economic troubles. People in business may say they feel the pinch2. Or they may say they are up against it. Or if things are really bad, they may say they have to throw in the towel.

A pinch is painful pressure. To feel the pinch is to suffer painful pressure involving money. The expression "feel the pinch" has been used since 16 century. The famous English writer William Shakespeare wrote something very close to this in his great play "King Lear". King Lear says he would accept necessity's sharp pinch. He means he would have to do without many of the things he always had. Much later the Times of London newspaper used the express about bad economic times during the 1860s. It said "so much money having been spent, all classes felt the pinch." Worse than feeling the pinch is being up against it. The saying means "to be in a lot of trouble". Word expert Gange Roger says the word "it" in the saying can mean any and all difficulties. He says the saying became popular in the United States and Canada in the late 19 century. Writer George Ade used it book called "achy". He wrote, "I saw I was up against it".

Sometimes a business that is up against it will have to throw in the towel. This means "to accept defeat or surrender3". Throwing in the towel may mean that a company will have to declare bankruptcy4. The company will have to take legal steps to let people know it has no money to pay its debts.

Word expert Charles Funk says in 1874 publication5 called "the slang6 dictionary" explains "throwing in the towel". It says the words probably came from the sport of boxing or price fighting. The book says the saying began because a competitor's face was cleaned with a cloth towel or other material. When a boxer's towel was thrown, it meant he was admitting defeat. Most businesses do not throw in the towel. They just reorganize so they can compete better.

This Words and Their Stories was written by Jerry Watson. I am Susan Clark.


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 dime SuQxv     
n.(指美国、加拿大的钱币)一角
参考例句:
  • A dime is a tenth of a dollar.一角银币是十分之一美元。
  • The liberty torch is on the back of the dime.自由火炬在一角硬币的反面。
2 pinch I2Azc     
n.捏,撮,困苦,偷窃;vt.掐,使...困苦,偷窃
参考例句:
  • She would pinch on food in order to spend on clothing.她过去常把伙食费省下来买衣服。
  • He put a pinch of salt on his food.他在自己的食物上撒了一撮盐。
3 surrender Qquyk     
v.投降,自首;屈服;交出,放弃
参考例句:
  • He preferred to die rather than surrender to the enemy.他宁死也不愿向敌人投降。
  • Liu Hulan would rather die than surrender before the enemy.刘胡兰在敌人面前宁死不屈。
4 bankruptcy fPoyJ     
n.破产;无偿付能力
参考例句:
  • You will have to pull in if you want to escape bankruptcy.如果你想避免破产,就必须节省开支。
  • His firm is just on thin ice of bankruptcy.他的商号正面临破产的危险。
5 publication xScxx     
n.出版,发行;出版;公布,发表
参考例句:
  • They don't think this article is suitable for publication.他们认为这篇文章不宜发表。
  • The government has delayed publication of the trade figures.政府已将贸易统计数字延后公布。
6 slang 2Thz2     
n.俚语,行话;vt.使用俚语,辱骂;vi.辱骂
参考例句:
  • The phrase is labelled as slang in the dictionary.这个短语在这本字典里被注为俚语。
  • Slang often goes in and out of fashion quickly.俚语往往很快风行起来又很快不再风行了。
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TAG标签:   word  story  word  dime
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