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源自欧洲寓言名著的英文典故

时间:2013-05-11 10:32  作者:  来源:

1.a dog in the manger占着茅坑不拉屎的人
出自《伊索寓言》(Aesop's Fables),有一篇狗站马槽的故事,说的是一头狗躺在堆满稻草的马槽里,狗是不吃草的动物,而当马或牛一走进稻草时,这头狗却朝着马,牛狂哮,不准食草动物享用。因此,“狗站马槽”就成了一个家喻户晓的成语而进入英语中,常用来比喻a person who prevents others from enjoying sth that is useless to himself; a churlish fellow who will neither use a thing himself nor let others use it,讽刺那些占据说职位或某些物质却不做事的人。
a dog in the manger是个名词性短语,常与系动词连用,充当表语(主语补足语)
eg:He borrowed a lot of books from the library,but he didn't read a book.He was really a dog in the manger.
There are some officials who are only the dogs in the manger.
Smith was a dog in the manger over that roll of wire;it was no use whatever to him,but he wouldn't let us have it.

2.bell the cat自告奋勇去冒险;老虎头上拍苍蝇
bell the cat系成语to hang the bell about the cat's neck的简略,愿意是“给猫的脖子上挂铃”。它来自《伊索寓言》(Aesop's Fables)中的《老鼠会议》(The Mice in Council)
这篇寓言讲的是:一群老鼠在鼠洞里举行会议,讨论如何对付凶狠的猫。白胡须老鼠提出:“我有个方法,在猫的脖子上挂一个铃。这样,猫一走动铃就响,我们就可以闻铃声而逃避了”,群鼠一致同意这个建议,欢呼:“That's a capital idea.We will bell the cat!No more fear of the cat!”但是,谁去给猫挂铃铛呢?没有一只老鼠敢去,一个个都溜掉了。老鼠会议豪无结果,它们不安全的境况当然也无法改善。
寓言所寄托的意思很明白:遇到困难的问题时候,既需要有出谋献策的人,更需要有挺身而出的实干家。
bell the cat常用来比喻to do sth dangerous in order to save others;to step forwar bravely to face the danger;to take a risk for the good of others.
eg:Everybody made suggestion,but no one actually offered to bell the cat.
We didn't know who would put him this delicate question when my friend offered to bell the cat.

3.cry wolf虚发警报;慌报险情;危言耸听
cry wolf来自《伊索寓言》:《牧童和狼》
(The Shepherdboy and the wolf)
有个牧童在离村子不远的山坡上放羊,有一次,他为了开心作乐,突然大喊:“Help!Help!The wolf!”全村的人都闻声跑来援助他时,才知道这只是开玩笑。如此恶作剧搞了两三次。后来,狼真的来了,那个牧童再呼号求救时,谁也不理会他了。于是,狼把他的羊吃了。
这篇寓言的意义很清楚:爱说谎话的人,即或在他说真话时,也没人相信他。由此,人们用to cry wolf 来概括这篇寓言的基本情节及其教诫意义,用以比喻to give false alarms;to warn of danger where there is none之意。按其比喻意义,这个成语相当与汉语中出自《东周列国志》的典故:烽火戏诸侯。周幽王为博得宠妃褒泥一笑,竟然把军国大事当儿戏,烽火报警戏诸侯,使各路诸侯仓促发兵,驰援京师,结果收到嘲笑。后来犬戎进犯,幽王再举烽火调兵,谁也不来了,结果周幽王遭到杀身亡国之祸。这2个典故的情节虽不同,寓意却完全不一致,都是表示“一朝说假话,一世无人信”
eg:Nobody will believe he is in trouble because he has cried wolf so many times.
Is she really sick of is she just crying wolf?
The newspaper placards that had cried "wolf" so often,cried "wolf" now in vain.

4.Fish in Troubled Waters浑水摸鱼;趁火打劫;陷于混乱
Fish in Troubled Waters直译是:“浑水里捕鱼”,出自《伊索寓言·渔夫》
这篇寓言江的是:有个渔夫在河里张网捕鱼,他把鱼网横栏在河道里,然后拿了一条缚着石块的绳子,不停的拍击河水,使泥沙泛起,河水浑浊,鱼儿在慌乱中纷纷自投罗网,渔夫用这个方法捕得了好多鱼。但住在附近的人指责渔夫说:“我们饮水全靠这条河,你把水搞得这么浑,叫我们到哪里去找清水饮用呢?”渔夫回答说:
“可是,我若不把水搞浑,那就非饿死不可了”
因此,人们常用to fish in trouble waters 比喻to try to win advantages for oneself from a disturbed state of affairs; to make use of sb's misfortune to serve one's own ends.并因此产生了谚语it’s good fishing in troubled waters(混水好摸鱼)。
在英语中,to fish in troubled waters 也可写成to fish in the muddy waters,而且water必须做waters。
eg:The man who interferes in South American politics is fishing in troubled waters
I refused to let them come here because i knew they only wanted to fish in troubled waters
Those who made large profits out of illegally selling rationed goods during World War II were fishing in troubled waters.

5.cat's paw 被他人利用的人;受人愚弄者
cat's paw 也坐cat's-paw或catspaw,字面意思“猫爪子”,出典17世纪法国著名的寓言作家拉·封丹的《猴子与猫》。讲的是狡猾的猴子哄骗头脑简单的猫儿,替它从炉火中取出烤熟的栗子来。猫儿应命去做,结果猫爪子被火烧伤了,而取出的栗子却被猴子吃光了。
追根嗍源,远在公元前3世纪的《伊索寓言》中就有这个故事,不过没有题目。
cat's paw常用来比喻a person used as a tool by another;one who is used merely for the convenience of a cleverer or stronger person之意。按其内涵,这个成语与汉语成语“为虎作伥”所比喻的意义相似,仅是动物的形象不同
cat's paw除了单独做复合名词使用外,还构成to make a cat's paw of sb(利用某人做为工具或爪牙)
eg:It is easy for him to be used as a cat's paw of evil-doing.
I am afraid that he is making a cat's paw of you.

6.Pull the chestnuts out of the fire火中取栗;替别人冒险
Pull the chestnuts out of the fire来自法国著名的寓言作家拉·封丹的《猴子与猫》。
cat's paw与Pull the chestnuts out of the fire是同源成语,但两个成语无论在结构上或意义上都不相同,前者比喻充当别人的工具或爪牙,后者常用来表示to do sth dangerous for others的意思。
这个成语也作to pull sb's chestnuts,或者to put the chestnuts for sb.
eg:I had pulled the chestnuts out of the fire for him on several occasions and was unwilling to do it again.
They are pulling chestnuts out of the fire for the imperialists without knowing it
You can't make me your catspaw to pull your chestnuts out of the fire...

7. attic salt优雅的俏皮话;妙语
attic salt的字面意思是“阿提卡的盐”。阿提卡洲(attica)是希腊东南部的一个州,其首府是雅典。阿提卡州是个半岛,工商业发达,特别盛产海盐,相传,阿提卡州的盐比希腊其他地方出产的盐精细有味,深受欢迎。阿提卡人机智风趣,善于说俏皮话,以幽雅的诙谐著称于世。
这个成语出自古罗马著名的作家和演说家西塞罗
(Marcus Tullius Cicero,公元前106-前43)。他的论文和演讲词,都是文体和标准拉丁语的典范,在其作品中论述了古希腊人精心研究的雄辩术理论,特别提到以口齿锋利著称的阿提卡人。公元前55年,西塞罗以文艺对话形式写的主要著作《辩论》(De oratore),探讨了演讲艺术中的诙谐问题。他说,妙语应当含有“盐味”,象“阿提卡的盐”那样有味。
在现在英语中,salt一词含有“风趣”,“兴味”等转义。成语attic salt常用来表示poignant delicate wit;wit of a refined quality。因此也可写attic wit.
eg: Yesterday Mrs Williams gave a talk to the Women's Institute on her travels in Asia.It was full of Attic Salt.
A talk full of attic salt is worth listening to.
They are in the habit of speaking with attic wit.

8.one's pound of flesh残酷榨取;割肉还债
相信大家都看过莎士比亚的《威尼斯商人》。这里就不加以介绍。one's pound of flesh比喻to insist cruelly on repayment of what was borrowed,常用在have,demand,exact,want,ask for 等之后。
eg:If you borrow from the scoundredl,you may be sure he'll demand hhis pound of flesh.
Their boss pays the highest wages,but he wants his pound of flesh in return and makes them work very hard.

9.john bull(s)约翰牛;英国佬
“约翰牛”是英国人的绰号,意义是english nation,the typical englishmen.这个雅号是英国人自己取的,出自16世纪英国著名作家兼宫廷御医约翰·阿布斯诺特(John Arbuthnot,1667--1735)的政治讽刺作品。
阿布斯诺特在1712年写了一本讽刺小说,名叫《约翰牛的生平》(The History of John Bull),该书的主人公约翰牛就是英国的人格化、形象化。
作者笔下的约翰牛,是个英国“自由民”,为人粗暴冷酷,桀骜不逊,颇有些牛劲。他盛气凌人、欺辱弱者,如果谁流露出对他稍微表示不满的反抗情绪,他立即摆出一副格斗的架势。作者通过这个赳赳武夫的形象,暗喻当年英国的专横跋扈,抨击“民权党”(英国自由党的前身)的好战策略。显然,这个绰号最初含贬斥色彩。
这个形象的出现,绝非作者凭空捏造,而是与当时英国的社会经济状况紧密相连。在英国资产阶级革命胜利后的17世纪,英国毛纺工业迅速发展,资本的原始积累不断扩大,资产阶级政权对内实行“圈地运动“,对外实行殖民地的掠夺政策,以便积累大量的工业资本。“约翰牛”的形象正是这个时期英国的体现这。
John Bull这个颇古的典故成语,19世纪
的著名作家狄更斯(Charles Dickens,1812--1870)就曾引用过。随着时间的推移,“约翰牛”的形象发生了耐人寻味的变化,由最初那个身强力壮、满脸横肉的中年船长想象,变成了一个年过半百、五短身材的矮胖子。于是漫画上出现的”约翰牛“,是个头戴宽边礼帽,足蹬翻口皮鞋,身穿茄克衫的绅士摸样。当年那种杀气滕滕的气概收敛不少,其原来的贬义似乎变成了褒义。”约翰牛“逐渐变成了一位饱经事故的实干家形象,他的行为成了英国的人的标准行为。这样一来,john bull这个成语就成了英国人或者英国的代名词了;而与之相关的john bullism 就指”英国精神“”英国习气“或”英国的典型性格“,john bullist则常指”英国迷“
eg:By some he is called..."a thoroughbred englishman",by some,"a genuine john bull"...
John bulls belong to the white race.

10.Grin like a cheshire cat咧嘴傻笑;露齿嬉笑
Grin like a cheshire cat字面意思是“象柴郡猫那样咧开嘴笑”,这个成语也可写成 to wear/have a grin like a Cheshire cat,或to smile like a Cheshire cat。关于这个成语有2种说法
Cheshire是英格兰西部的一郡,当地出产一种颇有特色的干酪,叫“柴郡干酪”(Cheshire cheese),曾经一度作成象笑脸猫的形状。另一种说法是:柴郡有位画家,他给当地旅馆绘画的招牌上,都画了一只咧着嘴笑的狮子。
艾里克·帕特里奇先生(Mr. Eric Partridge)认为,这个成语大约从1770年开始就作为贬义词使用。英国《朗曼英国成语词典》等辞书,认为这个成语源自维多利亚女王时代(1835--1901),英国数学家和童话作家刘易斯·卡洛尔(Lewis Carroll,1832--1898)在他所写的童话《阿丽思漫游奇境记》(Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)中详细的描述了公爵夫人家中的一只柴郡猫。《阿丽思漫游奇境记》第6章有段这样的对话:
"please,would you tell me,"said Alice a little limidly..."why your cat grins like that?
"It's a Cheshire cat,"said the Duchess,"and that's why."
卡洛尔的童话,通过虚幻离奇的情节,嘲讽了19世纪后半期英国的社会现象。《阿丽思漫游奇境记》在1865年7月问世后,轰动了全英国。作者由此一举成名。
“柴郡猫”的生动想象,是否他所创造,有待于进一步考证,但to grin like a Cheshire cat是随着该书的风行而被广泛使用,应无疑义。根据书中的描述,这个成语常用来表示to grin broadly,showing great amusement; to laugh at nothing that is amusing;to smile widely,in such a way that on shows all one's teeth.
eg poor little Hans only grinned like a Cheshire cat when he was scolded.
Mamma is smiling with all her might.In fact Mr. Newcome says..."that woman grins like a Cheshire cat."Who was the naturalist of the cats in Cheshire?
It is no good smiling at me like a Cheshire cat,Mr.Lubin.

11.A storm in a Teacup杯水风波;小题大做;大惊小怪
A storm in a Teacup字面意思“茶杯里的风暴”;美国英语为“a tempest in a teapot/barrel”,也作tea-pot tempest.
A storm in a Teacup出自法国著名作家巴尔扎克(Honore de Balzac,1799-1850)记述,这句话出自18世纪法国哲学家和思想家孟德斯鸠的名言。有一次,他听说圣马力诺发生了政治动乱,就用“茶杯里的风暴”来评论。因为圣马力诺是欧洲最小的共和国,只有一万人口,孟德斯鸠认为那里的动乱对整个欧洲局势无足轻重。
探源搠流,远在公元前古希腊了罗马的名人著作中就有过类似的形象比喻。如古罗马著名作家和演说家西塞罗(Cicero)在其著作《论法律》中就有这样的话:excitare fluctus in simpulo,意即to stir up waves in a ladle。此外,还有a storm in a cream-bowl;a storm in a wash-hand basin等说法。尽管它们比喻的形象不同,但都是用来表示much excitement about something trivial;a lot of fuss about a trifle之意。按其比喻意义,相当与“小题大做”大惊小怪。
The people next door are continually quarreling ,but it is usually a storm in a teacup.
What is it all about?Nothing serious,just a tempest in a teapot.

12. a tower of ivory 或an ivory tower象牙之塔;世外桃源
a tower of ivory常用来比喻一种与世隔绝的梦幻境地,即the place of seclusion or retreat from realisties of life.
She lives in a tower of ivory apart from her friends.
They view college as an ivory tower.

13.have an axe to grind别有用心;另有企图;怀有私心
have an axe to grind是个源自美国的成语,字面意思是“让斧头磨一磨”,寓意是to have private interests to serve;to have sth to gain for oneself;to have a selfish reason等之意。
据英国《朗曼英国成语词典》等记述。这个成语出自美国著名的政治家、科学家本杰明·富兰克林(Benjamin Franklin,1706--1790)所写的一则故事。富兰克林幼年时,在院子里遇到一个带有斧头的陌生人,那人称赞院子里那个磨石 (grindstone)很好,想看看它好不好使,便花言巧语的让他转动磨石,而那人就在上面磨利自己的斧头。
据“美国之音”英语广播节目《词汇掌故》说,这个成语出自1810年美国宾夕法尼亚(Pennsylvania)一家报纸上首次刊登的一则故事。故事说的是有个陌生人手持一把斧头,想找磨石来磨利他的斧头。他在街上遇到一个男孩,就问道:“好孩子,你爸爸有磨石吗?”那男孩就带他到家里来,帮他转动磨石磨斧头。这对一个孩子来说是件艰苦的活,男孩把手都磨破了,累个半死才把斧头磨得闪闪发光。那个人见目的达到,不仅没向小孩道谢,反而教训孩子快点去上学,以免迟到.
2个出典实质上讲的是同一件事。富兰克林作为一位杰出的资产阶级革命家,担任的最后一项公职就是宾夕法尼亚州废奴委员会会长,为废除奴隶制而奔忙,直到生命的最后一息。宾夕法尼亚州一家报纸在富兰克林逝世20周年发表那篇小故事,应该就是他生前所讲的故事。这个故事的寓意很清楚:“持斧待磨者”用恭维的话来达到个人目的,人们不要上当受骗。
He may offer you a post in his firm,but he has an axe to grind, he wants to stand well with your father.
His interest in our venture cannot be sincere,because i knew he has an axe to grind.
In the first place,let me assure you,gentlemen,that i have not an axe to grind




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