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[[资源推荐]] 英语词语溯源:A WHITE ELEPHANT-白象(沉重的负担)

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发表于 2007-8-21 18:26:42 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
A WHITE ELEPHANT-白象(沉重的负担)
 
 A “white elephant” is something which will cost you money, perhaps an increasing amount of money over time, and in the end, have no value. It may be something that cost too much to fix or too much to use.
 “白象”指花钱不少、用处不大的废物,也许留用的时间越长,花的钱越多,最终也无济于事;也许指某种修理费、使用费不胜负担的东西。
 A “white elephant” could be a car, a boat, a house, or even a business which demands more and more of your money without bringing in enough profit in return.
 “白象”可能指一辆汽车、一艘船、一栋房子或一个企业,需要你不断投资,却收不回足够的利润。
 In the words of the poet, John Cheever Goodwin—
 诗人约翰•切沃•格德温写道:
 “For that elephant ate all night,
 “大象通宵吃草不停,
 And that elephant ate all day,
 从日出吃到日落;
 Do what he could to furnish him food,
 主人即使倾家荡产,
 The cry was still ‘more hay’.”
 也填不满大象肚皮。”
 This is true of all elephants, white or dark. As we all know, the elephant is largest land mammal, and perhaps the heaviest of eaters. There have never been many albino or “white” elephants. White elephants are considered to be holy or sacred in parts of Asia. Writers William and Mary Morris give this explanation for our present use of the expression, “white elephant.”
 不管是黑象还是白象,都有一个填不满的大肚皮。我们都知道大象是最大的陆生哺乳动物,也许还是食量最大的动物。不过,白象的数量向来很少。白象在亚洲部分地区被视为神物。威廉•莫里斯和玛丽•莫里斯这两位作家对“白象”之所以转意为“沉重的负担”解释如下:
 Hundreds of years ago, there were so few white elephants that every one was taken by the king. And because they were sacred, it was unlawful to put any of them to work. The king used a white elephant to punish any of his officials who displeased him. He gave the man the elephant as a gift. Then the king just waited. He knew that in time the official would spend all his money feeding the elephant. And, because the elephant could not do any work, the official could not use him to make any money. So, the gift of a white elephant resulted in ruin.
 数百年以前,白象数目极少,国王把所有的白象养了起来。役使白象是非法的,因为白象是神物。国王用白象去惩罚任何一个使他不快的大臣。他送一头白象给这个大臣,然后静观事态的发展。他知道大象的食量颇大,朝臣非变卖资产来喂养大象不可。果然,朝臣不能役使白象,不能靠白象赚钱,收了白象这份礼终于导致破产。
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