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一些从字面不太容易理解的英语习语

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记单词只是学英语的初级阶段。“习惯用语”在任何一门外语学习中可能都是需要花大功夫大力气去掌握和提高的。下面摘录一些有用而且不太容易掌握的英语习惯用语供参考。      

1.sock away

 vt.拨款、拨出,存,储蓄

例句:You should sock away a certain amount each month.

你每个月都应该存一笔钱。

 

2.live from hand to mouth

勉强度日、现挣现吃;收入勉强糊口

例句:

John got very little pay,and the family lived from hand to mouth when he had no job.约翰薪水本来很少,他失业以后,日子就更艰难了

Bob had a little money socked away, so he didn't have to live from hand to mouth.

鲍勃存了一点积蓄,所以日子还算过得去。

 

3.live on/off the fat of the land

过奢华生活

例句:How hard can it be to strike out on your own and live off the fat of the land?

仅凭一己之力就过上奢华自在的生活,有多难呢?

 

4.make hay while the sun is shining

 把握时机,趁热打铁,抓紧时机行事 

例句:While he had been successful at his job, he had made plenty of hay while the sun was shining.

他工作一度干得很成功,还趁热打铁取得了不少成绩。

 

5.in the twinkling of an eye

一刹那,眨眼的功夫。

例句:Things could go terribly wrong in the twinkling of an eye.

眨眼的功夫事情就变得一团糟。

 

6.as free as a bird

无拘无束、自由自在

例句:I found the reasons for his decision to throw in the towel and become free as a bird compelling.

我发现了他认输的理由后,就再也无拘无束了。

 

7.get one's ducks in a row

为完成某事而做好充分准备、把一切做得井井有条

例句:I thought Mike was extremely smart and always had his ducks in a row.

我觉得迈克极为聪明,做事总是井井有条。

Bob was very careful not to let on what he was thinking to anyone until he got all his ducks in a row.

鲍勃非常小心,他没有告诉任何人自己的想法,直到做好充分的准备。

 

8.salt of the earth

社会中坚

例句:Bill was salt of the earth.

比尔是一名社会精英。

 

9.on the spur of the moment

一时冲动地,不过脑子地

例句:He knew that such a decision couldn't be made on the spur of a moment.

他知道,不能一时冲动就作出决定。

 

10.by the seat of one's pants

没有清晰的规划地、摸着石头过河地,凭感觉地,在没有客观依据、茫无头绪的情况下只得摸索行事

通常的搭配是 "fly by the seat of (one's) pants."

例句: When I set up business in Vietnam I had to fly by the seat of my pants. I didn't know anybody, couldn't speak the language and had to learn the local business situation in a hurry. 

我刚开始在越南开办企业的时候完全是摸着石头过河:既不认识任何人,也不会说越南话,还得在短促的时间里了解当地的商业形势。 

 

11. have money to burn

花不完的钱;

例句:Sure, he never had money to burn, but he managed to get by.

当然,他从来没有花不完的钱,但他还是成功了。

 

12.the powers that be

指代掌权者

例句:Certainly, he never questioned the powers that be.

当然,他从来没有质疑过那些掌权者。

 

13.tag along

尾随他人

例句:Bill repeatedly told Bob that tagging along with everyone else would eventually get boring.

比尔一次次地告诉过鲍勃,尾随他人是件很无聊的事。

 

14.throw in the towel

放弃(拳击比赛中抛毛巾、放弃比赛)

例句:I found the reasons for his decision to throw in the towel and become free as a bird compelling.

我发现了他认输的理由后,就再也没有任何顾虑了。

 

15.jack-of-all-trades

身兼多职的人

例句:Bill made his living as a jack-of-all-trades.

比尔为了谋生身兼多职。

 

16.not able to see the forest for the trees

太执着于细节,导致忽视了更加重要的部分(只见树木不见森林)。

例句:The more he pondered the idea the more he came to realize that he wasn't able to see the forest for the trees.

他越想越觉得自己因为执着细节,忽视了真正重要的部分。

 

17.tilt at windmills

同假想的敌人或威胁作战(同风车搏斗,该习语背景典故是“塞万提斯”作品中的人物堂吉诃德)

例句:He still felt he was tilting at windmills.

他仍觉得自己在同假想的敌人作战。

 

18.get a new lease on life

对生活持一个柳暗花明的新态度

例句:These memories of Bill came flooding back as Bob began to to prepare to get a new lease on life.

当鲍勃决定重新开始生活时,那些关于比尔的记忆又奔涌而来。

The heart operation was a complete success and has given her a new lease on life.

心脏手术非常成功,这让她的人生翻开了柳暗花明的新一页。

 

19.the prime of life

生命全盛期

例句:However, Bob was in the the prime of life and he was ready for adventure.

但是,鲍勃此时年富力强,他准备好了迎接冒险。

 

20.throw something down the drain

浪费;

注意,在英式英语中down the drain 本身就是引申为“浪费(wasted,lost)”的意思,而“throw somthing down sth.”在介词down后面还可以搭配“ a stairway(楼梯), a duct(管道), a drain(下水道), a hole(洞)”等表示沿着、顺着…扔掉等的字面意思。如: Max threw the weapon down the storm sewer. Max把武器从排水管扔掉。(字面意思)

 Someone threw the bucket down the well. 有人把桶扔下井。(字面意思)

I'm scared I'm going to be out of a job, and my 12 years of experience will be down the drain. 我害怕会失去工作,这样我12年的工作经历就浪费了。(习语引申义)

 If the factory closes, that will be a million dollars' worth of investment down the drain. 如果工厂倒闭,则上百万美元的投资就损失(浪费)掉了。(习语引申义)

例句:How can you throw all you've worked for down the drain? 

你怎么可以浪费自己的劳动成果呢?(习语中的引申义)

 

21.lose one's marbles

失去理智;气疯了、陷入疯狂

例句:He's lost his marbles.

他已经气疯了(失去理智了)。



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