发布者: 千缘 | 发布时间: 2019-11-9 02:48| 查看数: 194| 评论数: 0|

Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.


On this weekly show, we tell about commonly used American expressions. By knowing these expressions, you can improve your ability to speak and understand American English.


Today, we go deep into the high seas to meet one of the most feared hunters in the ocean – the shark!


Sharks are large, usually gray saltwater fish. Unlike other creatures, they have a skeleton made of cartilage, not bones.


Sharks also have sharp teeth. They are known for being dangerous and eating whatever they want.


That's in the water. On land, Americans use the word "shark" in a number of expressions. It's no surprise that they all suggest some form of danger.


The word shark can be used to describe someone who is tricky and uses other people.


An example of this is the term loan shark. Loan sharks are people, not fish. They loan money at very high interest rates to others who need the money badly.

loan shark(放高利贷者)这个术语就是表示此种意思的一个例子。“loan sharks”指的是人,不是鱼。这些人以高利率借钱给那些急需用钱的人。

A "shark" can also be someone who is very good at something. However, they often use their skill to trick others. Sometimes we use this version of "shark" as a verb.


For example, let's say you are skilled at playing the game of pool, also known as pocket billiards. In fact, you never lose a game. One night, you go to a pool hall and act like you are not a good player. You miss shot after shot on purpose. You invite another person to play a game. You play against them and lose. Then, you ask them to give you another chance. Not only that, you offer them money if they beat you a second time. Your opponent happily accepts and, to be fair to you, makes the same offer. But you defeat them and win all the money.

例如,假设你很擅长打台球,也叫口袋台球。实际上,你打台球从未输过。有天晚上,你去台球厅(pool hall)装作自己技术不行。你接连故意击不中球。你邀请另一个人打一局。你和他们对打并且打输了。然后,你请求他们再给你一次机会。不仅如此,他们如果再赢你,你就给钱给他们。你的对手很开心地答应了,为了表示公平,他们表示输了同样也会给你钱。但你打赢了他们,赢走了所有的钱。

In a situation like this, you are considered a pool shark and have "sharked" your opponent. But you had better leave. As at the beach, sharks are also not popular in a pool hall.

在这种情境中,你是台球高手(a pool shark)并且欺骗了你的对手。但你最好离开。因为台球厅里的高手和沙滩上的鲨鱼一样,都是不受欢迎的。

It goes without saying that sharks, whether in the water or on land, can be dangerous.


If you are swimming with sharks in the ocean, you might be in serious danger. And if you are swimming with sharks on land, you are spending time with the wrong crowd.


Let's go back to the pool hall and our story about the pool shark. Imagine that the people whose money you won are not the nicest. They are criminals who are now angry at you for winning their money. You could say, based on this example, you are swimming with sharks.

让我们回到台球厅并继续我们台球高手的故事。假设你赢钱的对象不是什么好人。他们是罪犯,现在很生气你赢走了他们的钱。基于这个例子,可以说你是在与狼共舞(swimming with sharks)。

If the sharks are circling, then someone is in danger and their enemies are preparing for the kill. When sharks smell blood in the water, they come and circle the wounded animal. The same can be said for people.

如果某人四面受敌(sharks are circling),那这个人就危险了,敌人们准备好了大开杀戒。当鲨鱼在水里闻到了血腥味,它们就会游过来并围着受伤的动物绕圈。这种说法也适用于人。

Let's say you are at work and experience bad luck on a project or two. You are in danger of losing your job. Your co-workers may smell blood in the water. You could say the sharks have started circling. In this example, your mistakes are the blood and the sharks are your co-workers.

假设在工作中,你手头有一两个项目很棘手。你有丢工作的危险。你的同事也许知晓了你的失误(smell blood in the water)。你可以说,“鲨鱼们(sharks)”准备围攻了。在这个例子里,你的失误就是“blood(血)”,你的同事们就是shark(鲨鱼)。

On the other hand, someone who is shark bait is not dangerous -- just the opposite.

另一方面,恰恰相反,被称作“shark bait(鲨鱼诱饵)”的人并不危险。

Shark bait is one way of describing a person who swims in the ocean alone. For people who live at the beach, shark bait can also be an expression for someone who gets sunburned easily because they are not used to the bright sun.

“shark bait”是形容在海里独自游泳的人的一种说法。对于住在海滩边上的人来说,“shark bait”也可以表示某人及容易晒伤,因为他们不习惯明媚的阳光。

But for everyone else, shark bait describes someone who is unsuspecting and easy to trick. Two great words that mean "shark bait" are naïve and gullible.

但是对于其他人来说,“shark bait”形容毫无戒备心,容易上当受骗的人。两个非常适合表示“shark bait”意思的单词是“naïve(天真的)和gullible(易受骗的)”。

Now, to jump the shark is one of those idioms that doesn't make much sense unless you know about its roots.

“jump the shark(开始走下坡路)”是其中一个不了解来源就没多大意义的习语之一。

The expression "jump the shark" comes from the American television show "Happy Days." This TV series was first broadcast in 1974 and continued until 1984.

“jump the shark”这个短语出自美剧“Happy Days(《欢乐时光》)”。这部电视剧于1974年首播,续更至1984年。

In 1977, Fonzie -- the show's most popular character -- jumped over a shark while waterskiing. It was a silly story. And years later, TV critics said this jumping the shark program was the beginning of the decline of "Happy Days."


So, when Americans say something has "jumped the shark," they mean it used to be popular or of high-quality, but no longer is. We also use this expression to describe something that has become silly or has no connection to reality. This expression usually refers to a TV show or the career of an artist or writer.

所以,当美国人说某事物已经“开始走下坡路了(jump the shark)”,他们的意思是这个事物曾经很受欢迎或者高品质,但是只是曾经。我们也用这个短语表示某物开始变得荒唐或者脱离实际。这个短语一般用来形容电视节目或者一个艺术家或者作家的职业生涯。

Not everyone believes that Pablo Picasso's art jumped the shark later in his career. But some critics think that it did.


And I hope we haven't jumped the shark with today's Words and Their Stories.


I'm Anna Matteo, and I'm Jonathan Evans.



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