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WORDS AND THEIR STORIES(20) - Chicken Feed / Peanuts

时间:2006-03-09 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:sqp   字体: [ ]
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WORDS AND THEIR STORIES - Chicken Feed / Peanuts
By Jerilyn Watson

Broadcast: Sunday, September 12, 2004

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I'm Susan Clark with Words and Their Stories, a program in Special English on the Voice of America.

Almost every language in the world has a saying that a person can never be too rich. Americans like people in other countries always want more money. One way they express this is by protesting1 that their jobs do not pay enough. A common expression is "I am working for chicken feed." It means working for very little money.

The expression probably began because seeds fed to chickens made people think of small change. Small change means metal coins of not much value, like nickels3 which are worth five cents.

An early use of the word - chicken feed appeared in American publication4 in nineteen thirty. It told about a rich man and his son. Word expert says "I'll bet5 neither the kid nor his father ever saw a nickel2 or a dime6, they would not have been interested in such a chicken feed."

Chicken feed also has another interesting meaning known to history experts and World War Two spies and soldiers. Spy expert Henry S.A. Becket writes that some German's spies working in London during the War, also worked for the British. The British government had to make the German believes the spies were working. So British officials gave them mostly false information, it was called chicken feed.

The saying person who protesting his work for chicken feed, may also say "I am working for peanuts." She means she is working for a small amount of money. It is very different meaning from main one in a dictionary that meaning is small nuts that grow on a plant. No one knows for sure how a word for something to eat also came to mean something very small. But a peanut is a very small food.

The expression is an old one. Word expert says that is as early as eighteen fifty four. An American publication used the words "peanut agitators7", that meant political trouble-makers who did not have a lot of support. Another reason for the saying about "working for peanuts" may be linked to elephants. Think of how elephants are paid for their work in the circus. They receive food, not money. One of the foods they like best is peanuts.

When you add the word gallery to the word peanut, you have the name of an area in an American theater. A gallery is a high sitting area or balcony above the main floor. The peanut gallery got its name because it is the part of the theatre most distant from where the show takes place. So peanut- gallery tickets usually cost less than other tickets. People pay a small amount of money for them.

This Special English program Words and Their Stories was written by Jerilyn Watson. This is Susan Clark.


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 protesting d93ffad9f650f8a1f87cebbbaff86055     
v.声明( protest的现在分词 );坚决地表示;申辩
参考例句:
  • They were formally protesting. 他们正式提出抗议。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • They were protesting soaring prices. 他们抗议物价暴涨。 来自辞典例句
2 nickel HGyxI     
n.镍,(美国和加拿大的)五分钱
参考例句:
  • Nickel can be used for making coins.镍可做成钱币。
  • May I have a nickel?能给我五分钱吗?
3 nickels 50136a4ae3499c49a4f6d699873726e6     
镍( nickel的名词复数 ); (美国和加拿大的)五分镍币,五分钱
参考例句:
  • The mint coins millions of nickels and dimes each year. 造币厂每年都要铸数以百万计的分币和角币。
  • A dime is the equivalent of two nickels. 一角硬币等于两个五分镍币。
4 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。
5 bet ddZy8     
v.打赌,以(与)...打赌;n.赌注,赌金;打赌
参考例句:
  • I bet you can't do this puzzle.我敢说,你解决不了这个难题。
  • I offered to bet with him.我提出与他打赌。
6 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。
7 agitators bf979f7155ba3c8916323b6166aa76b9     
n.(尤指政治变革的)鼓动者( agitator的名词复数 );煽动者;搅拌器;搅拌机
参考例句:
  • The mud is too viscous, you must have all the agitators run. 泥浆太稠,你们得让所有的搅拌机都开着。 来自辞典例句
  • Agitators urged the peasants to revolt/revolution. 煽动者怂恿农民叛变(革命)。 来自辞典例句
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TAG标签:   word  story  word  chicken  feed
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