您现在的位置: VOA >> VOA慢速英语 >> 词汇典故 >> 正文

[翻译]Words and Their Stories - Surprising Origin of 'To Keep at Bay'

更新时间:2017/7/30 8:41:53 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

Now, it's time for Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English.

On this program, we explore everyday expressions that we use in conversation. Americans often use the first saying we will talk about today. But many people likely do not know where it comes from.

在本节目中,我们将讨论我们在会话中用到的一些日常表达。美国人经常用到我们今天讨论的第一种说法,但是很多人可能并不知道它的出处。

To keep something at bay means being unable to move closer while attacking or moving toward someone or something. If you keep something at bay, you appear to be in control of the situation. English speakers say either "keep at bay" or "hold at bay."

To keep something at bay意思是在袭击或向某人或某物移动时无法再继续靠近。如果说You keep something at bay,意思是你好像控制了局面。英语人士要么说keep at bay,要么说hold at bay。

For example, when protecting their village, the villagers kept the armed attackers at bay through the night. The villagers did not let them come closer.

例如,当村民在保护他们村庄时,他们整晚都没有让武装袭击者继续接近。

However, bad people can also hold something at bay. The armed robber held police at bay for about 9 hours before they caught him. So, the robber did not let police get anywhere near him. They didn't catch him until 9 hours later.

然而,坏人也能控制某些局面。这些武装强盗在被警察逮住之前,抵挡了警察大约9个小时。所以,这些强盗没有让警察靠近他们,警察直到9个小时后才抓住他们。

In these examples, the things being kept at bay -- the attackers and the police -- are real. You can physically touch them. But you can also use this expression about more intangible things -- ones you can't see or touch.

在这些例子中,被阻止的袭击者和警察都是真实的,你可以亲身接触到他们。但是你也可以使用这种表达来描述一些你无法看见或触摸的无形之物。

For example, if you move to a new city you can keep loneliness at bay by joining a club, playing a group sport or taking a class. You can also invite your old friends to come and explore your new city with you. All these things will keep loneliness away from you, or at bay.

例如,如果你搬到一个新城市,你可以通过加入俱乐部、参加集体运动项目或上课来抑制孤独感。你还可以邀请老朋友来和你一起探索这个新城市。所有这些事情都会使你甩掉或是抑制住孤独感。
 

Jamaica's Montego Bay is a popular tourist destination. But is this "bay," a body of water enclosed partly by land, the "bay" used in the expression "to keep something at bay"?

You can keep illness at bay by eating healthy food and getting enough sleep and exercise. And I can hold my desire for chocolate at bay by not buying it and keeping it in my house!

你可以通过健康饮食、充足睡眠以及运动来避免疾病。我也可以通过不购买巧克力,不在家里保存巧克力,来抑制住自己对巧克力的渴望。

English learners and native speakers alike may think the term “at bay” has to do with water, perhaps involving a ship unable to reach the shore. After all, one of the many definitions of "bay" is a large area of water that is partly surrounded by land.

英语学习者和母语人士可能都认为at bay这个术语跟水域有关,也许涉及的是船只无法靠岸。毕竟,bay的其中一种含义就是指部分被陆地包围的大片水域。

But language experts will stop them right there. To find out the origin of this expression, let's talk about another definition of "bay." It also means to bark with long, drawn-out sounds, as when a dog cries out at the moon.

但是语言专家会表示反对这种说法。为了找出这种表达的起源,让我们来谈一谈bay的另一种含义。它还指长久地嚎叫。就像是一只狗在月亮上狂吠。

Those hounds are baying.

那些猎犬正在吠叫。

In the 14th century, barking hounds were said to be "at bay." When dogs are kept at bay, they are kept from attacking. The Phrase Finder website says the first recorded usage of "at bay" is in an English story from the year 1330.

在十四世纪,吠叫的猎犬被称之为at bay。当狗在吠叫时,它们就无法攻击。Phrase Finder网站说,at bay首次有记录的用法是在1330年的一个英文故事中。

Back to modern times, “at bay” is a common expression. You can use it with friends and strangers.

回到现在,at bay是一种常见表达。你可以对朋友或陌生人都用到它。

Now, let's hear this expression used at work. Let's say you are the head of a small company that makes toys. Part of your job is to keep open lines of communication between the owner and company employees. Well, when the owner suddenly makes changes to work rules, the employees get angry. And you hear about it. The owner's solution is to throw a party for the employees. You tell her that a party will not keep their anger at bay. They only thing that will improve the situation is fair treatment.

现在,让我们来听听这句表达在工作中的一些应用。假设你是一家小玩具公司的负责人。你的职责之一就是保持老板和公司员工之间沟通渠道的畅通。那么当老板突然改变工作规则时,员工们非常生气。老板的解决方案是给员工举办一次聚会。你告诉她,一次聚会无法抑制住员工们的怒火。改善局面的唯一办法是公平待遇。

Now, there are other ways to keep something from getting worse. You can also ward off something or stave off something.

还有其它办法可以防止事态恶化。你也可以避开(ward off)或阻止(stave off)某些事情。

To ward off a danger or illness means to prevent it from affecting you or harming you. We often use "ward off" when talking about mental health, disease or, strangely enough, evil spirits.

避开(To ward off)危险或疾病意思是防止它们影响或伤害到你。我们经常在讨论精神健康、疾病或是妖魔鬼怪时用到ward off。

For example, she knew that, for her, the best way to ward off a bad mood was to see a happy movie. You eat chicken soup to ward off the common cold. And some people say that you can use garlic to ward off vampires and keep them from sucking your blood.

例如,她知道对她来说,躲开坏心情的最好办法是看场喜剧电影。你喝鸡汤来避免感冒。还有人说,你可以使用大蒜来避开吸血鬼,让他们不要吸你的血。

Staving off something sounds much more official. We use "stave off" in fairly serious situations, such as ship-wrecked survivors who staved off starvation by eating coconuts for eight months. Here's another example, “The single mother staved off poverty by working three jobs.”

Staving off something听上去更为正式。我们在相当严重的情况下使用stave off,例如失事船只上的幸存者吃了八个月的椰子来摆脱饥饿。以下是另一个例子,这名单亲母亲通过打三份工来摆脱贫困。

Now, what if you simply want to keep your distance from a person. You don't want to be near them. In this case, you wouldn’t use “ward off” or “stave off” or even “at bay.” What can you use? Well, we have a great expression for keeping distance.

如果你只是简单地想要和某人保持距离该怎么办呢?你不想靠近他们。在这种情况下,你不会使用ward off或stave off。你可以用什么来表示保持距离呢?我们有一种很棒的表达。

To keep someone at arm's length means you don’t want to be close to that person. Imagine that you are holding your arm straight out in front of you. A person can’t get close. And that’s the point.

To keep someone at arm's length(和某人保持一定距离)意思是你不喜欢接近那个人。想像一下你把手臂直接伸到你前面,别人就无法靠近。这就是关键所在。

Let's say, you meet someone. You don't know her very well, but she seems nice -- seems is the important word here. Slowly over time, you learn more about the woman. And you don't like what you see. She is strange and not in a good way. You catch her in some lies. And she appears to be a trouble-maker. So, you decide to keep her at arm's length. When you don't answer her calls and ignore her emails, she will know you are keeping her at arm’s length.

假设你认识某人,你不太了解她,但她看上去很友好。看上去这个词在这里很重要。随着时间推移,你更多地了解了这个女人,你不太喜欢自己所看到的这些。她有点异常。你识破了她的一些谎言。而且她似乎是个若是生非的人。所以你决定跟她保持一定距离。当你不接她的电话,不回她的邮件,她就会知道你要跟她保持距离。

In this case, you could say you kept her friendship at bay. But you were never friends in the first place. So it sounds more natural to say that you kept her at arm's length.

在这种情况下,你可以说,你疏远了她。但是你们从来不是朋友。所以用kept her at arm's length这种说法听上去更为自然。

We here at Learning English have no desire to keep you at bay or at arm’s length. And we certainly don’t want to ward or stave you off! You’re our audience Without you, well, we wouldn’t be here!

我们慢速英语的这些工作人员可不希望跟你保持距离。而且我们无疑也不想要躲开你。你是我们的听众,没有你们,也就没有我们。

I'm Bryan Lynn.

And I'm Anna Matteo.

Words in This Story

intangible – adj. not made of physical substance : not able to be touched : not tangible

origin – n. the point or place where something begins or is created : the source or cause of something

boredom – n. the state of being bored

mood – n. an emotional state of mind or feeling

vampire – n. a dead person who leaves the grave at night to bite and suck the blood of living people

coconut – n. a large fruit that has a thick shell with white flesh and liquid inside it and that grows on a palm tree

相关文章列表