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forebear/['fɔ:bɛə]/ n. 祖先, 祖宗...

VOA慢速 Words and Their Stories: Top Brass(2012-11-11)

VOA慢速 Words and Their Stories: Top Brass(2012-11-11)

I'm Susan Clark with the Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

The Italians have an old saying, "Il dolce far niente." The words mean it is sweet, or enjoyable, to do nothing.



On weekends and during holidays, many of us enjoy doing nothing. But most of the time we have to work. And, to keep our jobs, we must work hard. Our employer will not like it if we do nothing.

American workers often call their employers bosses. The word boss comes from the Dutch word, baas, meaning master.

Sometimes company bosses are called the brass. They also are sometimes called top brass, or brass hats.

Experts disagree about how these strange expressions started. But, they may have come from Britain. Leaders of the nineteenth century British army wore pieces of metal called oak leaves on their hats. The metal, brass, has a color similar to that of gold. So a leader or commander came to be called a member of the brass. Or he might have been called a brass hat. Or, even the top brass.

By the nineteen forties, the expression had spread beyond military leaders. It also included civilian officials.

A newspaper in the American city of Philadelphia used the term in nineteen forty-nine. It called the most important police officials, top brass.

Other expressions that mean boss or employer have nothing to do with brass or hats. One of these is big cheese. A cheese is a solid food made from milk.

The expression probably started in America in the late nineteenth century. Some experts believe it comes from a word in the Uersian or urdu languages -- chiz. The meaning is a thing. So the meaning of big cheese may be a big thing.

Other experts say the word cheese in this expression was really an incorrect way of saying chief. The word chief means leader. So the expression may mean big leader.

An employer usually does not object to being called boss. But most workers would not call their employers big cheeses, top brass or brass hats to their faces.

These words are not really insulting. But neither do they show great respect.

Employers also have expressions to describe their workers. One of them that describes a good worker is that he or she works like a Trojan.

This expression probably comes from the ancient writings of the Greek poet Homer. He wrote about the Trojans who lived in the city of Troy. He said Trojans worked very hard to protect their city.

Now, the expression often is used to describe an employee who works hard for a company. A loyal, hard-working employee is said to work like a Trojan.

So be happy if your company's brass hats say you work like a Trojan. They may consider you valuable enough to increase your pay.

(MUSIC)

This Special English program, WORDS AND THEIR STORIES, was written by Jeri Watson. I'm Susan Clark.
词汇讲解:

1. saying n. 谚语;格言, 名言
例句:“There’s no smoke without fire”, as the saying goes.
常言道:“无风不起浪。”

2. dolce adj. 温柔的
例句:The seductive dolce far niente sort of life is fatal to his military ardour.
迷人、悠闲的生活方式对他的军事热情是极为有害的。

3. employer n. 雇主
例句:His former employer recommends him warmly.
他从前的雇主热心地推荐他。

4. beyond prep. 超出…的范围; 超过
例句:The switch on the wall was beyond the baby's reach.
墙上的开关小孩子是够不到的。

5. civilian n. 平民, 百姓
例句:Former soldiers have difficulty in adjusting to civilian life.
退伍军人很难适应平民生活。

6. incorrect adj. 错误的, 不正确的
例句:Your answer is incorrect.
你的回答不正确。

7. insulting adj. 出言不逊的, 侮辱的, 无礼的
例句:He was most insulting to my wife.
他对我的妻子非常粗野无礼。

8. ancient adj. 古代的, 古老的
例句:Jerusalem is an ancient city.
耶路撒冷是一座古城。

9. loyal adj. 忠诚的, 忠心的
例句:He is a loyal friend.
他是一位忠诚的朋友。

10. valuable adj. 宝贵的, 有价值的, 极有用的
例句:The handbook is valuable to me.
这本手册对我很有价值。

短语讲解:

1. On weekends and during holidays, many of us enjoy doing nothing. But most of the time we have to work. And, to keep our jobs, we must work hard.

enjoy doing something 享受做某事,喜欢做某事
例句:He enjoy swimming.
他喜爱游泳。

2. The word boss comes from the Dutch word, baas, meaning master.

come from来自某处
例句:They came from all parts of the country.
他们来自全国各地。

3. The metal, brass, has a color similar to that of gold.

be similar to与…相似
例句:My problems are very similar to yours.
我的问题和你的差不多。

4. Other expressions that mean boss or employer have nothing to do with brass or hats. One of these is big cheese.

have nothing to do with与…没关系
例句:This has nothing to do with you.
这事与你无关。

5. A cheese is a solid food made from milk.

make from由…制成
例句:Paper is made from rags.
纸是由破布制成的。

6. An employer usually does not object to being called boss.

object to反对; 对…反感
例句:They objected to me on personal grounds.
他们出于个人的原因反对我。

7. Now, the expression often is used to describe an employee who works hard for a company.

be used to do 被用来做…
例句:Knives can be used to cut apples.
刀可以用来切苹果。

I'm Susan Clark with the Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.
我是美国之音慢速英语词汇掌故节目主持人苏珊·克拉克。
The Italians have an old saying, "Il dolce far niente." The words mean it is sweet, or enjoyable, to do nothing.
意大利人有句老话:“Il dolce far niente.”意思是,无所事事很甜蜜、享受。

On weekends and during holidays, many of us enjoy doing nothing. But most of the time we have to work. And, to keep our jobs, we must work hard. Our employer will not like it if we do nothing.
周末和假期的时候,许多人喜欢无所事事。但大部分时间我们必须工作。为了保住工作,我们必须努力工作。雇主也不喜欢我们无所事事。

American workers often call their employers bosses. The word boss comes from the Dutch word, baas, meaning master.
美国人通常称雇主为老板。"boss"这个词来源于荷兰语"baas",意思是“老板”。

Sometimes company bosses are called the brass. They also are sometimes called top brass, or brass hats.
有时候公司老板被称为"the brass",有时候也称为"top brass",或者"brass hats"。

Experts disagree about how these strange expressions started. But, they may have come from Britain. Leaders of the nineteenth century British army wore pieces of metal called oak leaves on their hats. The metal, brass, has a color similar to that of gold. So a leader or commander came to be called a member of the brass. Or he might have been called a brass hat. Or, even the top brass.
关于这个奇异的短语的起源,专家们意见不一。这个短语可能源自英国。19世纪英国军队领导人帽子上镶嵌着几片“金属橡树叶”,它由铜制成,颜色和黄金差不多。所以军队领导或者指挥官就被称作the brass成员,或被称为brass hat(高级将领),甚至是top brass(军方高层)。

By the nineteen forties, the expression had spread beyond military leaders. It also included civilian officials.
到了20世纪40年代,这个短语已经扩展到军事领导人以外,包括了文职人员。

A newspaper in the American city of Philadelphia used the term in nineteen forty-nine. It called the most important police officials, top brass.
1949年美国费城一家报纸使用这个术语,将高级警员称为top brass。

Other expressions that mean boss or employer have nothing to do with brass or hats. One of these is big cheese. A cheese is a solid food made from milk.
其它有老板或雇主含义的短语和金属橡树叶或帽子无关。这其中之一就是big cheese。cheese(奶酪)是一种牛奶制成的固体食品。

The expression probably started in America in the late nineteenth century. Some experts believe it comes from a word in the Uersian or urdu languages -- chiz. The meaning is a thing. So the meaning of big cheese may be a big thing.
这个短语可能起源于19世纪晚期的美国。一些专家认为它来自乌尔都语 -- chiz,意思是一种东西。所以big cheese的意思就是大人物。

Other experts say the word cheese in this expression was really an incorrect way of saying chief. The word chief means leader. So the expression may mean big leader.
另一些专家称,这个短语中的cheese实际是chief的错误表达。chief意思是领导。所以这个短语意思可能是“大领导”。

An employer usually does not object to being called boss. But most workers would not call their employers big cheeses, top brass or brass hats to their faces.
雇主通常并不反对被称为"boss",但大部分员工不会当面将雇主称为"big cheeses","top brass"或"brass hats"。

These words are not really insulting. But neither do they show great respect.
这些词并非无礼,但也没有尊敬的意思。

Employers also have expressions to describe their workers. One of them that describes a good worker is that he or she works like a Trojan.
雇主也有形容员工的短语。其中形容好员工的一个短语就是他或她"works like a Trojan(工作努力)"。

This expression probably comes from the ancient writings of the Greek poet Homer. He wrote about the Trojans who lived in the city of Troy. He said Trojans worked very hard to protect their city.
这个短语可能来自希腊诗人荷马的史诗。他写到了居住在特洛伊城的特洛伊人。他说,特洛伊人努力保护自己的城市。

Now, the expression often is used to describe an employee who works hard for a company. A loyal, hard-working employee is said to work like a Trojan.
现在这个短语经常被用于形容努力工作的公司员工。忠诚、勤劳的员工被称为"work like a Trojan"。

So be happy if your company's brass hats say you work like a Trojan. They may consider you valuable enough to increase your pay.
所以如果公司老板说你"work like a Trojan",他们可能认为你值得加薪。
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