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[翻译]Words and Their Stories - 'Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth'

更新时间:2017/12/24 8:57:10 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

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

On this show, we explore the origins and usage of common expressions in American English. Sometimes we tie the show to an event or special time of the year. This show could be tied to any time of the year that features a holiday.

在本节目中,我们会探讨美式英语中常用表达的来源和用法。有时候我们会把它跟一年中的某个事件或特殊时刻联系起来。这个节目能够和一年中任何节日联系起来。

Holidays are a wonderful time of the year! They are a time when people slow down and take a break from their daily lives.

节日是一年中最美好的时光。这是人们放慢脚步、从日常生活中解脱出来小憩片刻的时候。

While holidays are celebrated in different ways, many have something in common -- gift-giving!

虽然节日有着不同的庆祝方式,但是都有一个共同点,那就是赠送礼物。

And who doesn't like to get a present. Covered in pretty paper, maybe tied with a bow or ribbon, a wrapped gift is a surprise. It could be anything!

谁会不喜欢收到礼物呢?用精美的纸张包好,也许再用蝴蝶结或丝带绑好,包好的礼物就是个惊喜。里面可能装的是任何东西。

"Oh, you really shouldn't have!" is a common response when someone hands you a gift. We say this even when we are thinking to ourselves, “Yay! I got a present!”

“哦,你太客气了!”这是有人送给你礼物时你会做出的常见回应,即使当时我们想的是:“耶!我收到礼物了!”

Sometimes the gift is perfect.

有时候礼物很完美。

"It's just what I have always wanted!" you might say.

你可能会说,“这正是我一直想要的。”

Sometimes it's not.

有时候就不是这样。

We have all been there. You happily tear open a gift, wondering what is inside. But then you see it and you are ... disappointed. But you must not show it. And you absolutely must not criticize the gift and make comments about why you don't like it.

我们都经历过这种事。你高兴地打开一件礼物,想要知道里面是什么。然后你看到后非常失望。但是你不能把这种情绪表现出来。而且你绝对不能批评这件礼物,并说出你为什么不喜欢它。
 

In the village of Vosava, Belarus, men prepare a horse and a sleigh to celebrate the New Year on January 13 according to the Julian calendar, 2017.

In other words, don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

换句话说,不要对礼物挑三拣四。

This idiom is really old.

这句习语真的非常古老。

Way back in 1546, a man named John Heywood supposedly used this phrase in some Middle English text. ("No man ought to looke a geuen hors in the mouth.”)

早在1546年,一位名为约翰·海伍德(John Heywood)的男子在一些中世纪英语文章中用到了这句话。

However, some word experts say the idiom is much older than that. However old it is, people must have used it when gifting a horse was a common thing.

然而,一些词汇专家表示,这句习语比这还要更加古老。不管有多古老,人们肯定是在把送马当常事时使用这个习语。

To understand this idiom, we must understand a bit about horse's teeth. They grow over time. So, checking the length of the teeth is a way of knowing the horse's age. Although I have never given or received a horse, I'm guessing a young horse makes a better gift than an old one.

为了理解这句习语,我们必须了解一下马的牙齿,它们随着年纪增长而生长。所以,检查牙齿长度是了解马的年龄的一种办法。虽然我从没送过也没收到过马,但我猜小马比老马更适合当礼物。

However, checking the horse's mouth would be a sign of mistrust towards the gift giver. This would be bad manners. And it might make the giver feel embarrassed or even angry!

然而,检查马的嘴巴对送礼者是一种不信任的表现,这太不礼貌了,会让送礼者感到尴尬甚至生气。

The polite thing to do is simply to say "thank you" and accept the gift horse graciously.

有礼貌的做法就只要说出“谢谢你”并且优雅地接受这件礼物。

These days, horses are not common gifts. But we commonly use this idiom.

现如今,马不再是一种常见的礼物,但是我们经常会用到这句习语。

Today "don’t (or never) look a gift horse in the mouth" means don't find fault with something that has been received as a gift or favor. Don’t be ungrateful when you receive a present, even if it’s not exactly what you wanted. If you complain about a gift someone has given you or a favor someone has done for you, you could be accused of looking a gift horse in the mouth.

今天,“不要对礼物挑三拣四”意思是不要对收到的礼物或恩惠挑毛病。收到礼物时别不领情,即使它不是你想要的。如果你抱怨别人送给你的礼物或是对你的恩惠,你可能会被指责“对礼物挑三拣四。”

Besides gifts, you can use this idiom for other things, such as a favor.

除了礼物,你也可以使用这个习语表达其它东西,例如某种恩惠。

Let's say you ask a friend to help cook a dish for a party you are throwing for a group of senior citizens in your neighborhood.

假设在你给附近老人举办的一场聚会上,你邀请一位朋友帮忙做一点饭菜。

She comes to the dinner, smiling from ear to ear, and hands you the dish she has cooked. It is very burnt and it smells ... odd. But you don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth. You thank her for her dish and the time she took to make it. Then you put it on the table ... in the back ... where people hopefully won’t see it.

她笑得合不拢嘴地来到晚宴上,然后把做好的饭菜递给你。饭菜烧焦了味道很难闻。但是你不想对礼物挑三拣四,你感谢她带来的饭菜以及为此付出的时间。然后你把它放在桌子上,但是放在人们可能会看不到的桌子后面。

So, next time you get a gift that is less than perfect, remember that it is not nice to look a gift horse in the mouth. After all, it’s the thought that counts. This means that it's the thought of gift-giving and not the gift itself that is important.

所以,下次当你收到不那么完美的礼物,请记住,对礼物挑三拣四不好。毕竟,心意最重要,意思是送礼的心意比礼物本身更重要。

And don’t worry. If you get something as a gift that you really don't like, you can always pass it along to someone else who may actually like it.

别担心,如果你收到确实不喜欢的礼物,你可以随时把它转送给其他可能真正喜欢它的人。

In other words, you can always re-gift it!

换句话说,你可以随时把它转送出去。

And that's the end of this Word and Their Stories!

I'm Anna Matteo.

Peace on Earth, goodwill to men is the greatest gift of all.

Peace on Earth, goodwill to men is the greatest gift of all.

Words in This Story

bow – n. a knot made with one or more loops ("Tie the ribbon in a bow.")

ribbon – n. a flat or tubular narrow closely woven fabric (as of silk or rayon) used for trimmings or knitting : a narrow fabric used for tying packages

disappointed – v. feeling sad, unhappy, or displeased because something was not as good as expected or because something you hoped for or expected did not happen

idiom – n. an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that has a separate meaning of its own

supposedly – adv. claimed to be true or real

manners – n. behavior while with other people

embarrassed – v. to make (a person, group, government, etc.) look foolish in public

gracious – adj. marked by kindness and courtesy : graciously – adv.

ungrateful – adj. not feeling or showing thanks for favors, gifts, etc.

favor – n. a kind or helpful act that you do for someone

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