26.at one’s wits end 智穷计尽

    wit的意思是“颖悟力,智力,理解力”。该习语的意思是“处在智力的末端”,意即“智穷计尽”了。例如:I’m at my wit’s end with this problem. 我对这个问题真是束手无策。

    A: I am at my wits’ end. 我已经智穷计尽了

    B: What’s the matter? 怎么啦?

    A: If the bank won’t lend us the money, we’ll be stuck. 如果银行不肯给我们贷款,我们就寸步难行了。

    B: Don’t worry. You can ask Mary for help. 别着急。你可以请玛丽帮帮忙。

    27.at sixes and sevens 乱七八糟;意见不一

    该习语一般认为源于掷色子,原为赌博行话。据说在中世纪时,色子面上的最高点数是7,如想求得13点,即一个色子6点,一个色子7点,这谈何容易,只有那些心烦意乱或处于思想混乱状态下的人才会下此赌注,一试赌赢。该习语最初表示“漫不经心地下赌注”,后来转而表示“心烦意乱”,最后又引申出“乱七八糟”、“意见不一”等意思。乔叟在爱情长诗《特罗勒斯和克丽西德》中使用过该习语。

    A: You have loused up the whole business; it’s at sixes and sevens. 整个买卖让你弄得乱七八糟。

    B: The dice is cast. It’s incurable. 一切都成了定局,没救了。

    A: I feel so terrible. 糟透了。

    B: Me too. We just went to a lot of trouble for nothing. 我也这么想,一切都白忙了。

    28.back to square one 退回起点;从头再来

    该习语源自掷色子游戏。当掷出某个特定的号码时要受罚,于是还要重新再掷。该习语即指“无所进展,退回起点”,进而“从头再来”。例如:I’m back to square one with the work.(我的工作又得从头做起。)

    A: Have you finished designing that office building? 那座办公楼设计好了吗?

    B: We are back to square one now. 我们正在重新设计。

    A: Back to square one? What’s the matter? 重新设计? 怎么回事?

    B: We’ve worked out the plan, but it’s been decided that we must use cheaper material. So we have to redesign it. 本来我们都已经设计好了,但现在决定使用便宜点的材料,所以只得从头再来。

    29.back to the drawing board 从头开始,失败后另起炉灶


    drawing board指“画板”。该习语直议为“(退)回到画板前”,引申为“从头开始。失败后另起炉灶”。

    A: How is Jim recently? 吉姆近况如何?

    B: Very well. Since he was back to the drawing board, he’s been very successful. 非常好。自从他失败以后另起炉灶,就一直很成功。

    A: I know he will get back on his feet sooner or later. 我知道他迟早会东山再起的。

    30.ballpark figure 近似数,大致正确的估计

    ballpark一词本指“棒球场”,引申为“活动领域”,在此为形容词,表示“大致正确的,八九不离十的”。此类常用短语还有in the right ballpark“大致正确,差不多”。 Ballpark figure 指大致不错的近似数。

    A: What price is this building? 这栋楼的成本是多少?

    B: It’s $1,00,000, just a ballpark figure. 一百万美元,这只是个大概数。

    A: So much? It must have been in excess of our budget. 这么多!肯定超出了预算了。

    B: So. We go on or stop it now? 那现在是干下去还是停下来?

    A: Of course build it. Let’s think of some ways to raise money. 当然要干下去,我们想法去筹些钱。

    31.bang for the buck 货真价实

    buck在美国俚语中是“美元”的意思。有这样一个短语,bigger bang for a buck,它的意思是“花钱取得更大效果”。Bang原是表示巨大声响的拟声词,这里引申为“效果”。

    A: Listen! It’s mid-summer now. What do we need them for? 嘿,现在已经是仲夏了,我们要这些东西干什么?

    B: They may come in handy. Besides, these items can be true bang for the buck. 会有用得着它们的时候,再说这些东西是货真价实的呀。

    A: True bang for the buck? They’re enough for ten years’ use. 货真价实?都够用10年的了。

    B: Stop getting on my nerves! I’m not doing something for nothing! 别烦我了,我可不是没事找事。

    32.be brassed off doing 厌烦干… ,对 … 满腹牢骚

    brass作名词指“黄铜”,作动词指“镀黄铜于 … ”,而brassed off是俚语,意思是“厌烦,不满,牢骚满腹”。

    A: I am awfully sorry that I have kept you waiting. 真是很抱歉让您久等了。

    B: To tell you the truth, I am really brassed off waiting. 说实话,我最讨厌等人。

    A: Sorry. I had something urgent to deal with just when I was to leave. 对不起,我正要来的时候又有急事要处理。

    B: You should have told me earlier. 你应该早点告诉我。

    A: It was too late to inform you. 通知你已经来不及了。

    33.be catty 爱搬弄是非的;爱诽谤人的

    英语中,cat给人的联想总是不太愉快,如cattish的意思是“狡猾的、恶意的、偷偷摸摸的”。cat在英语中可用来指“恶意伤人的女人,包藏祸心的女人”,因此catty就有了诽谤的含义。

    A: I thought you would cooperate. 我原以为你会跟我合作呢。

    B: Well, I’m too busy to be catty and poke my nose into things that do not matter much to me. 我可不愿意搬弄是非去管那些跟我没关系的闲事。

    A: How do you know that he won’t do something against yourself? 你怎么知道他不会做出什么对你不利的事呢?

    B: You do seem to have a glib tongue. 你真能胡搅蛮缠。

    34.be down in the dumps 垂头丧气,神情沮丧

    the dumps在非正规的口语表达方式中的意思是“忧郁”或“沮丧”。be down in the dumps常指“闷闷不乐”或“打不起精神”,也可引申为“垂头丧气,精神沮丧”。

    A: You’re down in the dumps. What’s happened? 你看上去沮丧不堪。出什么事了?

    B: I had a quarrel with our boss’s secretary. She’s been on her high horse these days. 我和老板的秘书吵了一架。这几天她总是盛气凌人。

    A: Maybe she was only taking it out on you. Secretaries have a lot of pressure, too. 也许她仅仅是向你发泄。秘书的压力也很大。

    B: But she jumped down my throat for no reason at all. I could not put up with her. 但她无理由地斥责我,我无法容忍。


    35.be in a jam 陷入困境

    jam指“拥挤,阻塞”。该习语的字母意思为“在拥挤之中”,引申为“陷入困难的处境”。例如:She is in a bit of jam about money. (她的手头有点拮据。)

    A: Mike told me that his business was in a jam and he was in urgent need of money. He wanted to borrow some money from me. 迈克告诉我他的生意陷入困境,急需用钱。他想向我借钱。

    B: Don’t lend money to him. He’s always lying. 别借钱给他。他总是说慌。

    A: But I think he is really in difficulty this time. 但这一次我看他是真的遇上困难了。

    36.be in full swing 正在全力进行,处于活跃阶段

    in full swing的意思是“活跃”。该习语的意思即引申为“处于(工作的)全面展开、进行阶段”。例如:The building project is in full swing.(这个建筑工程正处在全力进行之中。)

    A: I hear your company in expanding its business. 我听说你们公司正在扩展生意。

    B: Yeah. We’re setting up a new factory now and the work on it is in full swing. The project will be completed in three months. 是的,我们正在新建一个工厂。工程正处于全面施工阶段,三个月内就可以完工了。

    37.be in high gear 全力进行

    gear指“齿轮,传动装置”,high gear的意思是汽车的“高速档”。该习语字面意思为“机器正处在高速档(快速运转)”,实际指“事物正处在全力进行当中”。

    A: By the way, how is your business going? Is it proceeding smoothly? 哎,你的生意最近如何?进展还顺利吗?
    B: Yes, it’s in high gear. 一切都在全力进行。

    38.be itching for a chance to do 很想找个机会试一试

    形容词itching的意思是“渴望的”,be itching to do意为“渴望做某事”;for a chance指“找机会”,因此整个习语的意思即为“渴望得到机会试做某事”。

    A: I am itching for a chance to cooperate with Mike. I hear he’s a very competent person. 我很想找机会和迈克合作一次。听说他特别能干。

    B: Everyone who has worked with him will have a deep impression on that point. 是的。每个和他一起工作的人都对此深有体会。

    39.be of one mind 意见一致,看法相同

    mind可指“头脑,心神”。该习语直译为“一个脑子想出的问题”,由此可以引申为“意见统一、看法相同”的意思。

    A: What do the board think about this plan? 董事会对这项计划怎么看?

    B: They are of one mind in passing it. 他们一致通过。

    A: Good news. 太好啦。

    40.be of two minds 拿不定主意

    be of two minds和be in two minds的意思基本相同,均表示“左右摇摆”或“拿不定主意,下不了决心”。例如:Don’t depend on him to decide. He always seems to be of two minds on important matters.(别指望他能做出决定。在重要事情上他好像总拿不定主意。)

    A: Are you ready to take the plunge and pound the pavements for new one? 你是否准备大胆采取措施,排除障碍,重新再来?

    B: I’m still of two minds. But I do seem to like to quit my present job. 我依然犹疑不决。我确实想放弃现在的工作。

    A: What kind of job are you aiming at? I mean, do you have a particular job in mind? 你想做什么样的工作? 我的意思是说,在你脑子里有没有特别的选择?

    B: I have a good mind to go into business. I think I can be equally successful as most other women in business. 我想进军商海。我想我会得到与商海里其他女性同样的成功。

    41.be on a gravy train 走运,有赚钱的机会

    gravy在美国口语中有“容易赚得的利润”的意思,gravy train意即“轻易发大财的工作”。该习语直译为“在一辆容易赚钱的火车上”,所以引申为“走运,有赚钱的机会”。

    A: John seems to be on the gravy train these days. 约翰最近看起来很走运。

    B: Yeah. He got a chance of going abroad to arrange an exhibition. 是啊。他得到了一个出国去办展览的机会。

    A: I don’t know why the sun is not shining on me. 我不明白为什么我的运气总是不佳。

    B: Don’t worry. You’ll be in the chips sooner or later. 别着急,总有一天你也会很富裕的。

    42.be on cloud nine 高兴得飘飘然

    该习语原为美国气象用语。该习语的流行据说应归功于50年代播放的一个名叫《约翰尼·多拉尔》的广播节目。Be on cloud nine的字面意思是“坐早九重云霄之上”,引申为“高兴得不得了”或“飘飘然”。例如:He was on cloud nine after winning the competition. (他在比赛胜利后欣喜若狂。)

    A: You seem to be on cloud nine these days. How is your restaurant business? 你近来有些高兴得飘飘然。餐馆的生意怎么样?

    B: How is my business? It’s none of your business! 我的生意怎么样?这不关你的事。

    A: It’s rude of you to talk to me like this. 你这样跟我说话太粗鲁了。

    B: I was only teasing you. You see, we have our clients eating out of our hands now. Both Mark and I are feeling on the top of the world. 我只是在逗你玩儿。你看,我们现在已经有了许多回头客了。马克和我都感到非常高兴。

    43.be on pins and needles 坐立不安

    pins指“大头针”,needles指“针”,be on pins and needles的字面意思是“如坐在大头针和针上”,喻为“坐卧不安”或“如坐针毡”。

    A: It seems you’re on pins and needles today. Anything troubling you? 你今天似乎坐立不安。有什么事吗?

    B: Yeah. I don’t know why bad things keep happening to me. You see, my car was stolen and the warehouse had been broken into. I can’t put my finger on the causes of this damned thing. 是的。我不知道坏事为什么总是找上我。你看,我的汽车被偷了,货仓也被盗了。我弄不明白怎么会发生这些倒霉事。

    A: There must be someone who had planned that. He threatened to show you the color when you refused to give him a promotion. 也许这是有人精心策划的。因为你没有提升他,他要给你点丈?纯础?BR>

   44.be over the hump 已度过难关

    hump的本义是“小丘,山脉”,over the hump直译为“越过山脉”,引申为“度过难关”。

    A: The Asian financial crises have almost paralyzed Asian economy. 亚洲金融危机几乎使亚洲经济瘫痪。

    B: Your company must be influenced by it deeply. 你们的公司肯定也很受影响吧

    A: Yeah. But we are over the hump now. 是的。但我们现在我们已经渡过了难关。

    45.be saddled with 把任务或责任强加在某人身上

    saddle在这儿作动词,意为“使负担,强加”,saddle sb. with sth. 意为“为某人负重担”,因此该习语意为“把任务强加予某人”。例如:I can’t be saddled with any more responsibilities.(我再也不能承担更多的任务了。)

    A: How is George recently? 最近乔治怎么样?

    B: Not very good. I hear that he is saddled with debts of his company. 不太好。我听说他的公司现在债务缠身。

    A: What happened? 怎么回事?

    B: It’s said that he was cheated by his partner. 据说是他的合伙人把他给骗啦。

    46.be short of hands 缺乏人手,人手不够

    short作表语时指“某物不够,缺乏某物”的意思,常与介词of搭配使用,既短语be short of something。

    A: You look worried about something. What’s the matter? 你好像很着急,怎么了?

    B: My computer isn’t working and I have got an important contract to type. 我的电脑坏了,可我还有一份重要合同要打出来。

    A: Why don’t you call the computer company? 你为什么不给计算机公司打个电话?

    B: I did, but they said the company was short of hands and couldn’t send any man today. 我打了,可他们说人手不够,今天不能派人来。

    A: What should I do? 我该怎么办呢?

    47.be supposed to 认为应该,必须;认为可以

    此语用被动语态表示“被许多人相信”,如:The castle is supposed to be haunted.(人们都说那座城堡闹鬼。)此语在口语中表示“认为可以做某事”,如:None of us girls is supposed to smoke.(我们女孩子都不吸烟。)此语中的supposed是动词的过去式,supposed作为形容词,意指“假定的,被信以为真的,想象中的”。

    A: The train was supposed to get to Beijing at eight o’clock. 火车该八点钟到北京。

    B: Eight o’clock? It’s already eight-thirty. 八点?现在都八点半了。

    A: What if he didn’t see us? 要是他没看见我们怎么办?

    B: He would take a taxi, I think. 他会打出租车的。

    A: Maybe the train is late. 不会是火车晚点了吧。

    B: It is impossible. I have heard the broadcast. 不可能。我已听见广播了。

    48.be too quick on the trigger 操之过急,行动过于仓促

    trigger指枪的“扳机,触发器”。该习语直译为“过早地扣动扳机”,引申为“行动过于仓促,操之过急”。

    A: You shouldn’t have had Bob do that job. He is still a green hand. 你不该让鲍勃做那项工作,他毕竟还是一个新手。

    B: But he needs to be given a chance. 但是他也需要机会呀!

    A: You should not have been too quick on the trigger. 可你不该太性急呀!

    49.bear down 加倍努力

    该习语本身就有“竭尽全力、加紧努力”的意思。例如:You will bear down if you expect to pass the exam. (你要是指望考试及格的话,就得加一把劲。)

    A: If we can’t finish the work before deadline, we will be fined according to the contract. 如果我们不能在规定的期限内完成工作,根据合同,我们将会被罚款。

    B: We are already bearing down to do the work. 我们已经在很努力地工作了。

    A: I know. What I mean is that we should improve our efficiency. 我知道。我的意思是我们必须提高效率。

    50.beat someone at his own game 将计就计地惩罚某人

    习惯用语beat someone at his own game直译为“以某人自己设计的把戏打击某人”,与汉语的“将计就计”近似。

    A: You seem to be worried about something. 你看上去很担心。

    B: Yeah. I don’t know how to deal with that smart businessman. 是呀。我不知道该怎么对付那个狡猾的商人。

    A: Don’t worry. Let’s beat him at his own game. 别担心,我们可以将计就计。

    B: A good idea. 好主意。