English Collection

日頃目に付いた覚えたい英単語、慣用句などの表現についてのメモです。

dig in one's heel

2014年06月30日 | 英語学習

土日と卓球の試合が続いたので忙しかった。成績は3位と2位で中々優勝できませんがその内に勝てる時もあるでしょう。さて、英語の勉強を再開します。Net Forceは主に青少年を対象にしたSFだと思いますが、慣用句が頻出します。
The whole thing reminded him of a horseback riding incident long ago, when the horse had abruptly broken into a gallop and he had been able to do nothing but clutch at its mane and hang on, hang on until it stopped. That awful feeling of helplessness. Nothing you could do. Dig in your heels, hang on harder, yell, scream, it won't make any difference. You're going to be crazy now.
"Dig in your heels" は慣用句でしょう。辞書で調べます。
・Oxford English Dictinary: Resist stubbornly; refuse to give in: 'he has dug in his heels and refuses to leave’
・Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary: to take or persist in an uncompromising position or attitude despite opposition
・Cambridge Dictinaries: to refuse to change what you believe is right or what you want to happen Be firm on important issues, but do not dig in your heels at every opportunity.

コメント
この記事をはてなブックマークに追加

wound to the quick

2014年06月26日 | 英語学習
Alainは入院してその後退院しますが、彼がおかしくなったのはドラッグに手を染めたからと両親に疑われます。
As a result, home life had become a little hell. His father wasn't talking to him except in monosyllables, and his allowance was stopped. His mother was doing the "wounded to the quick" act, which mostly involved looking at him with an expression that suggested she had somehow raised him badly, that being the only reason he could have acted this way.
"wounded to the quick" は引用符で囲まれているので一般的な表現ではないのでしょう。まず "quick" に私が知らなかった次の意味があることが分かりました。
・Oxford English Dictinary: (the quick) The soft, tender flesh below the growing part of a fingernail or toenail. cut someone to the quick: Cause someone deep distress by a hurtful remark or action.
・Vocabulary.com: any area of the body that is highly sensitive to pain (as the flesh underneath the skin or a fingernail or toenail)
The noun quick is a whole other story; it's a highly sensitive bit of skin, especially the skin under the fingernails or toe nails. Be careful not to chew your nails down to the quick? especially your toe nails.
となると、 "wounded to the quick" は傷口に塩を塗る様な感じですが、どうでしょう?
上の辞書にもある様に "cut to the quick" と言う慣用句があることも分かりました。
・McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs: Fig. to injure someone emotionally. (See also cut something to the bone.) Your heartless comments cut me to the quick. Her remarks cut him to the bone.
"wounded to the quick" は "cut to the quick" の表現を念頭にした著者の表現でしょう。"To add insult to injury" と言う表現を読んだ事がありますが同じような意味でしょう。
コメント (1)
この記事をはてなブックマークに追加

go spare

2014年06月25日 | 英語学習

Net Forceを読んでいます。Roddyと親しくなろうとしていたAlainの挙動がいよいよおかしくなりました。
Alain, easing him the rest of the way to the floor, once shining but now spattered with food and scattered with broken china. Alain lay there stiff-necked, jerking, trying to say things but suddenly unable to do anything but make strangled noises. "He's gone spare," Fergal said in astonishment, the Yorkshire accent coming out much more clearly than usual.
上に出てきた "gone spare" の "spare" は私の知っている意味ではありません。 たぶん "go spare" は慣用句でしょう。辞書を見ます。
・Oxford English Dictinary: Become extremely angry or distraught: 'he’d go spare if he lost the money’
・Cambridge Dictinaries: to get very upset or angry: She goes spare if I'm so much as five minutes late.
"go spare" が何故この様な意味を持つのか不思議に思えたので調べると、次の説明を見つけました。
Go spare” doesn’t have any relatives in American slang, but the underlying logic of the phrase is sadly familiar on this side of the Atlantic.  The original sense of “go spare,”when it first appeared in British slang in the 1940s, was “to be or become unemployed,” making it a close cousin of the more formal British euphemism for being laid off, “to be made redundant.”  By the late 1950s, the normal emotional reaction to losing one’s job had colored the term “go spare,” and it had had acquired the added meaning of “to become distraught or very angry” (“When he saw what I had done he went spare,” 1958).
(http://www.word-detective.com/2009/04/do-ones-nut-go-spare/ からの引用)
なるほど、元は職を失うことを意味したのですか。

コメント
この記事をはてなブックマークに追加

carry a tune in a bucket

2014年06月24日 | 英語学習

Net Forceから取り上げる今日の表現も初めて見るものですが、意味も文脈から簡単に推測できます。
"Has he been drinking?" Maj heard someone whisper.
She shook her head one last time. It didn't seem matter, for drunk or sober, Alain plainly couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. He apparently couldn't manage to carry his plate either. He dropped it, busy waving his arms.
"couldn't carry a tune in a bucket" は音程が狂う意味(つまり音痴)だと推測できますが、何故 "bucket" が出てくるのが不思議です。辞書に説明があるでしょうか?
・Collins Dictionary: to be able to sing in tune: A little-known fact about Hamm: She might carry her sport, but she can't carry a tune.
・McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs: can't carry a tune and cannot carry a tune; can't carry a tune in a bushel basket; can't carry a tune in a bucket; can't carry a tune in a paper sack: Fig. [to be] unable to sing a simple melody; lacking musical ability. I wish that Tom wouldn't try to sing. He can't carry a tune. I don't know why Mary's in the choir. She can't carry a tune in a bushel basket. Joe likes to sing in the shower, though he can't carry a tune in a bucket. I'd try to hum the song for you, but I can't carry a tune in a paper sack.
"bucket" が出てくる訳を説明している辞書は見つかりませんでしたが、最後に引用した辞書に "can't carry a tune in a paper sack" とも言うと書かれている事から、動詞に "carry" が使われていることから来た表現の様です。

コメント
この記事をはてなブックマークに追加

mile a minute

2014年06月23日 | 英語学習

今日取り上げる表現は初めて見ますが、意味は文脈から容易に分かります。Net Forceの作者はこの表現が好きなようで、一度ならず使っています。最初は次の場面にありました。
Roddy was surrounded by what appeared to be a large number of media people--some of them carrying their press credentials visibly, others simply listening, though doubtless every word Roddy said was going into a recording site somewhere else and would be all over the news tomorrow. Roddy was not missing the oppotunity. He was talking a mile a minute, and the media people were hanging on his every word.
辞書にこの表現の説明があるか調べます。
・McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs: Fig. very fast. (*Typically: go ~; move ~; talk ~; travel ~.) She talks a mile a minute and is very hard to keep up with.
・Urban Dictionary: acting rapidly in a highly agitated way: Stop talking a mile a minute and calm down.

コメント
この記事をはてなブックマークに追加

Automatic Flushing

2014年06月22日 | 英語学習

Reader's Digest 5月号から引用します。
The automatic flushing urinal flushed before I was finished.
トイレ先進国の日本ではtoilet bowlも "automatic flushing" を備えていますが、考えてみるとここまで自動化する必要があるのか疑問です。

コメント
この記事をはてなブックマークに追加

hairy

2014年06月21日 | 英語学習

歳を取るにつれて髪は薄くなりますが、"hairy" は必ずしも良いことではないのです。Tom Clancy's Net Forceからその個所を引用します。
Muffin continued to stare into the fridge.
"If you don't shut the door, everything in there will rot and go hairy," Maj said, "and stuff will come crawling out at night and hide under your bed...."
"rot" に腐る意味があるので "go hairy " は腐ることよりもその上を行く酷い状態でしょうか? 辞書を見ます。
・Oxford English Dictionary: informal Alarming and difficult: ‘we drove up yet another hairy mountain road'
・Cambridge English Dictionary: frightening or dangerous, especially in a way that is exciting: I like going on the back of Laurent's motorbike, though it can get a bit hairy.
・Wiktionary: Difficult, complex, intricate, or intimidating. It’s a hairy problem, and will probably take several weeks to sort out.

"hairy" は 5年前に読んだ子供向の話にも出てきて覚えたはずですが忘れていましたね。

コメント
この記事をはてなブックマークに追加

You're on

2014年06月20日 | 英語学習

英語には知らない難しい単語が無限のようにありますが、ごく初歩的な単語で構成されているのに意味がよく分からない口語的な表現も私には幾つもあります。Tom Clancy's Net Forceからの引用です。
"A public site," Fergal said. "I'll drop you the address. Roddy's playroom opens up at twenty hundred We'll be fashionably late."
Maj nodded. "You're on," she said.
"You're on" この様な表現は会話のテキストには出てきそうですが、辞書で調べるのは難しい単語よりかえって厄介なものです。普通の辞書に説明があるでしょうか?
・Oxford English Dictionary: informal Said by way of accepting a challenge or bet.: ‘If you mean it, you're on! There's lots I could do with three hundred quid.’
・Cambridge English Dictionary: used as a way of expressing agreement to something happening: "I'll give you £50 for your bike." "You're on!"
"you" でも "on" でもこの表現は見当たりませんが素直に "You're on" の検索で上の説明が見つかりました。オンライン辞書は便利ですね。もう紙の辞書は使えません。

コメント
この記事をはてなブックマークに追加

fashionably late

2014年06月19日 | 英語学習

米国では家に招待された時に早めに行ったりせず、むしろ若干遅れる方が良いと聞いたことがありますが、その少し遅れて行くことを示す表現がTom Clancy's Net Forceに出てきました。
Maj sighed. "Okay," she said. "I'll go. I'm free tomorrow night fortunately. Where are we going to meet?"
"A public site," Fergal said. "I'll drop you the address. Roddy's playroom opens up at twenty hundred We'll be fashionably late."
普通の辞書にはこの "fashionably late" の説明は中々見つかりませんが、俗語に詳しい次の辞書に説明がありました。
・Urban Dictionary: The refined art of being just late enough (5 minutes or so) to give the impression that you are a busy, popular person that was held up with other business.: She arrived at the party fashionably late.
Googleで検索すると同名の曲もあることが分かります。

コメント
この記事をはてなブックマークに追加

unprepossessing

2014年06月18日 | 英語学習

Roddyは "sent to Coventry" になったはずですが、Alainは何故か彼に近づきます。
The scene was so bizarre that when the other gamers stormed off and left Roddy to himself among the corpsed, Alain stayed and started to talk to him ... and after about five minutes of conversation realized that here was one of those people around whom life would never be dull. Granted, Roddy looked dull enough: big but pudgy for seventeen, with a blobby, unfinished look to him, wearing an unprepossessing face in which nothing but his eyes seemed alive.
上の引用文の後半に出てきた "unprepossessing" という単語は、分解すると "un" + "pre" + "possessing" でそれぞれの意味は分かりますが、合成された "unprepossessing" の意味は分かりません。しかたが無いので辞書を見ます。
・Oxford English Dictionary: Not particularly attractive or appealing to the eye: ‘despite his unprepossessing appearance he had an animal magnetism’
・Collins Dictionary: not creating a favourable impression; unattractive: A squat, unprepossessing face, moustache, tiny round glasses that gave an intellectual air.
意味は分かりました。Vocabulary.comを見ると "unprepossessing" のニュアンスが良く分かります。
If you find someone to be unprepossessing, you find them unattractive. Not that they're ugly, mind you! Just unprepossessing.
Unprepossessing is a rather indirect way of calling someone unattractive, or at best OK-looking. Unprepossessing is not quite the same as "ugly." Rather, just a way of saying that someone's looks aren't what you're most likely to remember about them. Cinderella was most unprepossessing in the filthy clothes and worn-out shoes that her step-sisters forced her to wear. But when she was all decked out by her fairy godmother, she was the belle of the ball: she was no longer unprepossessing.
しかし、何故この様な意味になるのかは依然として疑問です。Etymology.comで "prepossess" の語源を見ると。
1610s, "to get possession of beforehand," from pre- + possess. Meaning "to possess (a person) beforehand with a feeling, notion, etc." is from 1630s; specifically, "to cause (someone) to have a favorable opinion of something" (1640s).
これなら "unprepossessing" の意味とつながりますね。

コメント
この記事をはてなブックマークに追加