Clothing Expressions 使用服装的表达方式

      你是否想过,在英文的表示方法上有很多是使用服装用语来表示的?让我们看看,我是否能不加思索脱口而出地举出一些例子。

裤子里用来遮盖下半身的服装。有的时候,我们用“蚂蚁跑进了裤子”来描写一个坐立不安的人。而“摸着石头过河”和“跟着感觉走”就可以翻译为“fly by the seat of their pants”. 至于在做某些不该做的事情的时候被活活地逮住了的话,那就可以翻译为“get caught with their pants down”。 在每一个家庭里,总是有一个人是掌控家庭大事的。如果女主人是对她丈夫发号施令的,那我们就称这位女主人为“wears the pants in the family”。

一般,裤子都有口袋可以让我们放东西。对于那些比较会乱花钱的人,我们称他们是会“burn a hole in your pocket”。有时,你需要用皮带来索裤子,当我们手头紧的时候,我们也就会用“勒紧裤带”的说法来表示;然而当你是个有管理财政的能力,而且对财政预算安排得当的时候,你就可以被称为有“under your belt”财政能力。

我很尊敬那些能够省吃俭用的人们,为了表示我对他们的尊敬,我“take my hat off”(向他们行脱帽礼)。 但是对于我自己的钱,我就是花得很爽快。对于这个“很爽快、很利索”,我们可以用“at the drop of a hat”来表示。如果想要表示歉意,或者不可能做某件事,就可以说成不可能从帽子了拿出来。

靴子是鞋子中又重又坚固的一种。对于那种自以为是个重要人物的小人物,我真的很不欣赏他们的为人。对于这种人,我们可以称他们为“too big for their boots”。对此,你可以确信无疑,(即使拿你的靴子打赌也不会输。)重要的人物是不容易被替代的。你也几乎不能替代他们的位置。

我父亲是一个重要人物,他经营着一家大公司。他穿西装,打领带,里面还穿着长袖衬衫。那些对他不很熟的人会以为他很固执、很严肃,是一个自命不凡的人(衬衣里塞满了东西的人stuffed shirt)。但是我知道,我父亲是个襟怀坦白的人(他把他的心都显露在他的衣袖上了,wears his heart on his sleeve)。他乐意公开他的想法。他保持镇静,不发脾气(保持他衬衣的整洁keep his shirt on),也不易激动。

在生意上,我父亲也不会亏大本钱(输掉他的衬衣lost his shirt)。他是如此的有智慧,不仅不会丧失他全部的资产,连大部分的资产也不会亏损。这是因为我父亲工作勤奋(卷起袖口来工作rolls up his sleeves),而且辛劳工作。他时常有些特别的计划和答案来对付他所面临的问题。他就像一位变魔术的人一样,我们称他是个有锦囊妙计(card up his sleeve)的人。


讨论问题:

  1. 在你的本国文字里是否有使用服装来表达的词句?那些词句是怎样翻译成英文的?
  2. 你是否曾经被要求替代某人的位置,或者即兴演说?当时你有什么感觉?
  3. 何时你曾经被要求在工作中大干一场?
  4. 你家是由谁说了算?

Have you ever considered all the English expressions that include words about clothes? Let’s see if I can name a few off the cuff, or without any preparation.


People wear pants to cover the lower part of their bodies. We sometimes say that people who are restless or nervous have ants in their pants. They might also fly by the seat of their pants. They use their natural sense to do something instead of their learned knowledge. Sometimes, people may get caught with their pants down.  They are found doing something they should not be doing. And, in every family, one person takes control. Sometimes a wife tells her husband what to do. Then we say she wears the pants in the family.


Pants usually have pockets to hold things. Money that is likely to be spent quickly can burn a hole in your pocket. Sometimes you need a belt to hold up your pants.  If you have less money than usual, you may have to tighten your belt. You may have to live on less money and spend your money carefully. But once you have succeeded in budgeting your money, you will have that skill under your belt.


I always praise people who can save their money and not spend too much. I really take my hat off to them. Yet, when it comes to my own money, I spend it at the drop of a hat – immediately, without waiting. And sadly, you cannot pull money out of a hat. You cannot get money by inventing or imagining it.


Boots are a heavy or strong kind of shoes. People who are too big for their boots think they are more important than they really are. I dislike such people. I really do. You can bet your boots on that. Yet, truly important people are hard to replace. Rarely can you fill their shoes or replace them with someone equally effective.


My father is an important person. He runs a big company. He wears a suit and tie, and a shirt with sleeves that cover his arms. Some people who do not know him well think he is too firm and severe. They think he is a real stuffed shirt. But I know that my father wears his heart on his sleeve. He shows his feelings openly. And, he knows how to keep his shirt on. He stays calm and never gets angry or too excited.


Also, my father has never lost his shirt in a business deal. He is too smart to lose all or most of his money. This is because my father rolls up his sleeves and prepares to work hard. He often has a special plan or answer to a problem that he can use if he needs it. He is like a person who does magic tricks. We say he has a card up his sleeve.


Discussion Questions:

1. Do you have many expressions using clothing in your own language?  How do they translate into English?

2. Have you ever had to fill someone’s shoes or speak off the cuff?  How was the experience?

3. When have you had to roll up your sleeves for a job?  

4. Who wears the pants in the family?


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