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Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.


Every people has its own way of saying things, its own special expressions. Many everyday American expressions are based on colors.


Red is a hot color. Americans often use it to express heat. They may say they are red hot about something unfair. When they are red hot they are very angry about something. The small hot tasting peppers found in many Mexican foods are called red hots for their color and their fiery taste. Fast loud music is popular with many people. They may say the music is red hot, especially the kind called Dixieland jazz.

红色是一种火热的颜色。美国人经常用它来表述热度。他们可能会说对一些不公平的事情感觉到red hot,意思是说他们对此非常愤怒。很多墨西哥食物中含有的红色小辣椒因其颜色和火辣而被称为red hot。快节奏的强劲音乐受到了很多人的欢迎。他们可能会说这些音乐非常火爆,特别是被所谓的迪克西兰爵士乐。

Pink is a lighter kind of red. People sometimes say they are in the pink when they are in good health. The expression was first used in America at the beginning of the twentieth century. It probably comes from the fact that many babies are born with a nice pink color that shows that they are in good health.

粉色是一种稍淡的红。人们有时会用in the pink来表示身体健康。这个短语二十世纪初期在美国首次被使用,可能来源于许多婴儿出生时皮肤粉红,这表明他们身体很健康。

Blue is a cool color. The traditional blues music in the United States is the opposite of red hot music. Blues is slow, sad and soulful. Duke Ellington and his orchestra recorded a famous song  Mood Indigo  about the deep blue color, indigo. In the words of the song: "You aint been blue till youve had that Mood Indigo." Someone who is blue is very sad.

蓝色是一种冷色调。美国传统布鲁斯音乐(blues music )正好强劲的音乐相反。布鲁斯音乐非常舒缓、忧伤和深情。艾灵顿公爵(Duke Ellington,著名音乐人)及其乐队录制了一首著名的关于深蓝色的歌曲-- Mood Indigo。有一句歌词是这样的:" You ain’t been blue till you’ve had that Mood Indigo." 如果说一个人非常blue,说明他非常忧伤。

The color green is natural for trees and grass. But it is an unnatural color for humans. A person who has a sick feeling stomach may say she feels a little green. A passenger on a boat who is feeling very sick from high waves may look very green.

绿色是草木的自然颜色,但人可不是这样。胃不舒服的人可能会说她觉得有点难受(feels a little green)。船上的乘客由于波浪大而晕船看上去也会脸色发青(look very green)。

Sometimes a person may be upset because he does not have something as nice as a friend has, like a fast new car. That person may say he is green with envy. Some people are green with envy because a friend has more dollars or greenbacks. Dollars are called greenbacks because that is the color of the back side of the paper money.

有时一个人可能会感觉心烦意乱,因为他的某些东西不如朋友的,例如一辆新跑车。这个人可能会说他非常羡慕嫉妒恨(green with envy)。还有些人会非常嫉妒朋友比他更有钱。美元通常被称greenback,因为美钞背面是绿色的。

The color black is used often in expressions. People describe a day in which everything goes wrong as a black day. The date of a major tragedy is remembered as a black day. A blacklist is illegal now. But at one time, some businesses refused to employ people who were on a blacklist for belonging to unpopular organizations.

黑色也经常用于各类短语中。人们将诸事不利的一天称为黑色日(black day)。发生重大灾难的某日也被称为黑色日。现在黑名单(blacklist)是不合法的。但曾有一段时间,一些企业会拒绝雇佣黑名单上的人,因为他们属于某个不受欢迎的组织。

In some cases, colors describe a situation. A brown out is an expression for a reduction in electric power. Brown outs happen when there is too much demand for electricity. The electric system is unable to offer all the power needed in an area. Black outs were common during World War Two. Officials would order all lights in a city turned off to make it difficult for enemy planes to find a target in the dark of night.

在某些情况下,颜色也用于描述一种处境。brown out用于表示电力不足。当电力需求过度时就会出现电力不足,电力系统无法满足某个地区的用电需求。灯火管制(black outs )在二战期间非常普遍。官方会下令关闭城市所有灯光,使敌机在黑暗中很难找到攻击目标。


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