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[词汇典故]说猴

2014-02-18    来源:普特英语听力    【      美国外教 在线口语培训
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Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.

Monkeys are very similar to us in many ways -- most have ten fingers and ten toes, and brains much like ours. We enjoy watching them because they often act like us. In fact, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution says that monkeys and humans share a common ancestor.

Songwriter William Gilbert, in the musical "Princess Ida," wrote:

"Darwinian man, though well-behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved."

His words -- sung to Sir Arthur Sullivan’s music -- make listeners smile. Well, monkeys make us smile, too, because they are creatures full of playful tricks.

This is why many monkey expressions are about tricky people or playful acts. One of these expressions is "monkeyshines," meaning "tricks or foolish acts." The meaning is clear if you have ever watched a group of monkeys playfully chasing each other -- pulling tails, stealing food, doing tricks. So, when a teacher says to a group of students "Stop those monkeyshines right now!," you know that the boys and girls are playing instead of studying.

You might hear that same teacher warn a student not to "monkey around" with a valuable piece of equipment. You "monkey around" with something when you do not know what you are doing. You are touching or playing with something you should leave alone.

Also, you can "monkey around" when you feel like doing something, but have no firm idea of what to do. For example, you tell your friend you are going to spend the day "monkeying around" with your car. Well, you do not have any job or goal in mind -- it is just a way to pass the time.

"Monkey business" usually means secret -- maybe illegal -- activities. A news report may say there is "monkey business" involved in building the new airport, with some officials getting secret payments from builders.

You may "make a monkey out of" someone when you make that person look foolish. Some people "make a monkey out of" themselves by acting foolish or silly.

If one monkey has fun, imagine how much fun "a barrel of monkeys" can have! If your friend says he had "more fun than a barrel of monkeys" at your party, you know that he had a really good time.

"Monkey suits" are common names for clothes or uniforms soldiers wear.

In earlier years in many American cities, you would find men playing musical hand organs on the street. Dancing to the music would be the man’s small monkey dressed in a tight-fitting, colorful jacket similar to a military uniform. So, people began to call a military uniform a "monkey suit."

This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written by Marilyn Rice Christiano. Maurice Joyce was the narrator. I’m Shirley Griffith.

文本来源于普特论坛[report整理] SENEWS-2013-10-13


现在是美国之音慢速英语词汇掌故节目。

猴子和我们在很多方面都很相似,都有十个手指和十个脚趾。我们喜欢观察猴子,因为它们都行为常常和我们相似。达尔文的进化论认为,猴子和人类拥有共同的祖先。

作曲家(注1)威廉·吉尔伯特在歌剧《艾达公主》中写道:

“达尔文派的人虽然乖巧,但充其量只是一只剃掉毛的猴子。”

吉尔伯特写的剧本,配上阿瑟·沙利文作的音乐,让听众们会心微笑。猴子也能让我们发笑,因为它们是花样百出的生灵。

这就是为什么许多和猴子相关的词汇,都和狡猾的人或搞笑的行为有关。monkeyshines就是这些词汇中的一个,它的意思是诡计或愚蠢行为。如果你曾经看到过一群猴子互相嬉戏,互相扯尾巴、偷食物、耍花招,monkeyshines这个词意思就很容易理解。 当一位老师对一群学生们说:“Stop those monkeyshines right now!”你就知道那些孩子们是在玩耍而不是学习。

你可能听到同一位老师提醒一位学生,不要在一件昂贵的设备上瞎折腾。当你不知道自己在干什么时,就说你是monkey around with something,你正在触碰或把玩一些你应该放下的东西。

此外,当你觉得喜欢做某事,但没有如何做的明确想法时,你也可以是瞎玩(monkey around)。例如,当你告诉你的朋友,你准备花一天折腾你的汽车时,你的脑海中没有任何任务或目标,那仅仅是打发时间的一种方式。

monkey business通常指秘密的,有可能是非法的活动。一则新闻报道可能说,新机场建设中存在暗箱操作(monkey business),一些官员收取了建筑商的贿赂。

你可能戏弄了(make a monkey)某人,让某人看起来很傻。有些人做了一些荒唐可笑的事情,把自己给嘲弄了。

如果你觉得一只猴子很有趣,想象一下一堆猴子该多有趣。如果你的朋友对你说,在你的聚会上他比一堆猴子还有趣,你就知道他玩得很开心。

monkey suits是衣服或士兵穿的制服的通用名称。

前些年在美国的很多城市,你会发现有人在街上表演手风琴,一只穿着类似军装的紧身迷彩夹克的小猴子在一边伴舞。于是,人们开始把军装称为monkey suit。



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