Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.
Every week at this time we tell the story of words and expressions used in American English. Some of them are old. Some are new. Together, they form the living speech of the American people.
Some popular expressions are a mystery. No one is sure how they developed. One of these is the expression, carry a chip on your shoulder. A person with a chip on his shoulder is a problem for anybody who must deal with him. He seems to be expecting trouble. Sometimes he seems to be saying, "I'm not happy about anything, but what are you going to do about it?"
有一些流行的表达方式是一个谜，没有人能够确定这些表达方式是怎样形成的。其中一个这样的表达方式就是：carry a chip on your shoulder(脾气大，爱吵架)。肩上总带着一块碎片的人对于任何跟他打交道的人来说都是一个麻烦]。他似乎总在等着找麻烦。有时他的样子就好像再说，“我对某件事情感到不高兴，但是你又能怎么样呢？”
A chip is a small piece of something, like a chip of wood. How did this chip get on a person's shoulder? Well, experts say the expression appears to have been first used in the United States more than one hundred years ago.
One writer believes that the expression might have come from an old saying. The saying warns against striking too high, or a chip might fall into your eye. That could be good advice. If you strike high up on a tree with an axe, the chip of wood that is cut off will fall into your eye. The saying becomes a warning about the dangers of attacking people who are in more important positions than you are.
Later, in the United States, some people would put a real chip on their shoulder as a test. They wanted to start a fight. They would wait for someone to be brave enough to try to hit it off.
The word chip appears in a number of special American expressions. Another is chip off the old block. This means that a child is exactly like a parent.
chip这个词出现在很多特殊的美国表达方式中。另外一个是chip off the old block，意思是酷像父母的小孩。
This expression goes back at least to the early sixteen hundreds. The British writer of plays, George Colman, wrote these lines in seventeen sixty-two. "You'll find him his father's own son, I believe. A chip off the old block, I promise you!"
The word chip can also be used in a threatening way to someone who is suspected of wrongdoing. An investigator may say, "We're going to let the chips fall where they may." This means the investigation is going to be complete and honest. It is also a warning that no one will be protected from being found guilty.
chip也可以用来威胁涉嫌做了坏事的人。一位调查人员可能说：“We're going to let the chips fall where they may.(我们将不计后果)。”意思是，调查过程将会是公正无私的。这也是一个警告，即任何人都不可能逃脱法律的制裁。
Chips are often used in card games. They represent money. A poker player may, at any time, decide to leave the game. He will turn in his chips in exchange for money or cash.
This lead to another meaning. A person who finished or died was said to have cashed in his chips. Which is a way of saying it is time for me to finish this program.
这就引申出另外一个意思。一个完成工作或者结束一生的人也会被人说cashed in his chips。用这个短语也可以表示，是时间来完成这个节目了。
You have been listening to the VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories. I'm Warren Scheer.
今天我们来讲几个由chip这个词发展而来的习惯用语。第一个是：the chips are down。习惯用语the chips are down来历已久。它来自扑克牌桌。描绘的是下赌注的筹码都已经放在桌面上而打扑克的人即将摊牌一决输赢的当头。
例句-1：I had a wife and kids to support, so the chips were really down. But I found out who my real friends were.Pete started phoning people with connections and got me a new job in a week.
他的工资是全家大小的生活来源。在没找到新工作前，他失业等于断了全家的生计，所以这里的习惯用语the chips were down描绘令人担忧悬念的局面。
例句-2：Look, with my support slipping, the chips are down. If you don't raise another million this week for more TV ads, I don't think I have a ghost of chance to get enough votes to win!
这里的the chips are down意思也是情况不妙、令人担心。
我们再学个包括chip这个词的习惯用语：chip in。 在习惯用语chip in里， chip是个动词，它的来源是在牌还没发下前每个打扑克的人得把同等数目的筹码扔到桌面中央下头注。这就叫chip in。头注和打牌过程中下的赌注最后都归这付牌的赢家。Chip in已被用到日常生活的各方面，在收钱凑分子买一样东西送人的时候时候你常会听到人们说chip in。我们听个例子：
例句-3：Bill, you know Sally in accounting. Well, her mother died last night. We'd like to send flowers. Most people are chipping in five dollars. Would you like to chip in too?
他说：Bill， 你认识会计处的Sally 吧。她母亲昨晚去世了。我们想送鲜花。多数人都凑分子出五块钱，你要不要也凑一份？
我们再学个也用chip这个词的习惯用语：cash in one's chips。 Cash作名词的时候指“现金，” 但是在短语
cash in里面cash是动词。 Cash in原来的意思是赌局完结时去帐房把自己手上的筹码交进去换成现金，作个了断。 Cash in one's chips被人们沿用到日常生活中，指的不是赌局完毕，而是人生的终点。换句话说就是如一场赌博般的人生收场了。我们来听个例子。说话的是个退役军人。他刚刚得到一个怀消息。
例句-4：I just heard that Charley, my best friend in the army, cashed in his chips last week in Chicago. I haven't seen him in 25 years but back then we were as close as any two men could be.
这段话里的cashed in his chips含义是结束了他的一生。