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WORDS AND THEIR STORIES(27)

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
By Jerilyn Watson

Broadcast: Sunday, November 14, 2004

I'm Susan Clark with the Special English program Words and Their Stories.

Young Mr. Smith had an idea for his employer1. It was an idea for saving2 money for the company by increasing prices. At the same time Smith suggested that the company sell goods of less value. If his employer liked the idea Smith might be given more pay.Perhaps he might even get a better job with the company. Business had been very slow. So Mr. Smith's employer thought a few minutes about the idea. But then she shook her head."I am sorry ,Smith."his employer said,"It just will not wash."

Now the meaning of these English words should be "It will not get clean".Yet Smith's idea did not have anything to do with making something clean. So why did his employer say it will not wash?

Most word experts agree that "It will not wash" means3 "It will not work". A.P. wrote that the saying probably developed in Britain in the 1800s. Sarah Brownty used it in a story published in 1849. She wrote "that won't wash, miss". Miss Brownty seems to have meant that the dyes4 used to color a piece of clothing were not good.The colors could not be depended on to stay in the material.

In 19th century England ,the expression came to mean an undependable statement5. It was used mainly to describe an idea. But sometimes it was used about a person.

A critic6 once said of the poet Robert Browning he won't wash.The critic did not mean that the poet was not a clean person. He meant that Browning's poems could not be depended on to last. Today we know that judgement was wrong. Robert Browning still is considered a major poet. But very few people remember the man who said Browning would not wash.

Happily for the young employee7 Smith, his employer wanted him to do well in the company. So the employer talked turkey to him. She said ,"Your idea would be unfair to our buyers. Think of another way to save money." A century ago ,to talk turkey meant to talk pleasantly.Turkeys in the barnyard were thought to be speaking plesantly to one another. In recent years,the saying has come to mean an attempt to teach something important.

Word expert Charles Funk tells how he believes this change took place. He says two men were shooting8 turkeys together. One of them was a white man, the other was an American Indian. The white man began stating reasons why he should get all the turkeys for himself. But the American Indian stopped him. He told the white man,"Now I talk turkey to you."

Mr. Smith thought of a better idea after his employer talked turkey to him. He was given an increase in pay. So if your idea will not wash, try talking turkey to yourself and come up with a better idea.


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 employer ItNzrt     
n.雇用方,雇主
参考例句:
  • My employer deducted ten pounds from my wages this week.我的雇主从我本周的工钱中扣除了十英镑。
  • His monthly salary is paid into the bank by his employer.他的月薪由雇主替他存入银行。
2 saving XjYzGK     
n.节省,节约;[pl.]储蓄金,存款
参考例句:
  • Energy saving is term strategic policy of our country.节约能源是我国长期的战略国策。
  • Old-fashioned housewives were usually very saving.旧时的家庭主妇通常都很节俭。
3 means 9oXzBX     
n.方法,手段,折中点,物质财富
参考例句:
  • That man used artful means to find out secrets.那人使用狡猾的手段获取机密。
  • We must get it done by some means or other.我们总得想办法把它干完。
4 dyes 4a79cef7bb09ca33af1d0f71d17b0775     
染料,染色( dye的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • This cloth dyes easily [quickly; readily]. 这种布好染。
  • This material dyes easily. 这种材料容易上色。
5 statement 5uzwf     
n.陈述;声明;综述
参考例句:
  • The government will put out a new statement tomorrow.政府将于明天发布一项新声明。
  • Put down your statement in black and white.把你的话用白纸黑字写下来。
6 critic 7OTzJ     
n.批评家,评论家;爱挑剔的人
参考例句:
  • The critic classed him with the best writers of the age.评论家把他列入当代第一流的作家的行列之中。
  • He became a fierce critic of the tobacco industry.他成了烟草业的强烈反对者。
7 employee mpmxe     
n.职员,员工,受雇人员
参考例句:
  • Each employee received a like bonus.每个雇员都得到了相同数目的奖金。
  • They brought around a new employee this morning.他们今天早晨请来了一位新雇员。
8 shooting 5iFzcD     
n.射击,发射;猎场,狩猎场
参考例句:
  • The soldiers began shooting away at the enemy positions.战士们开始朝敌人的阵地不断地射击。
  • I was in the act of shooting him when I suddenly recognized him.我正要向他开枪时,突然认出了他。
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TAG标签:   word  story  word
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