词汇掌故:一些形容重要人物的短语

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Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.
现在是美国之音慢速英语词汇掌故节目。

Some expressions describe people who are important, or who at least think they are. One such expression is bigwig.
一些短语用来描述重要人物,或者至少自己认为重要的人物。其中一个这样的短语就是bigwig。

In the seventeenth century, important men in Europe began to wear false hair, called wigs. As years passed, wigs began to get bigger. The size of a man's wig depended on how important he was. The more important he was -- or thought he was -- the bigger the wig he wore. Some wigs were so large they covered a man's shoulders or back.
17世纪欧洲的重要人物开始戴假发,这种假发被称为wigs。随着岁月流逝,假发开始变得越来越大。一个人所戴的假发的大小取决于他的重要性。他越重要--或者自认为越重要--他所戴的假发就越大。一些假发大到遮住了他们的肩或背。

Today, the expression bigwig is used to make fun of a person who feels important. People never tell someone he is a bigwig. They only use the expression behind his back.
今天,bigwig被用于嘲笑那些自认为重要的人。人们从来不会告诉某人他是bigwig,只会在他背后这么说。

Big wheel is another way to describe an important person. A big wheel may be the head of a company, a political leader, a famous movie star. They are big wheels because they are powerful. What they do affects many people. Big wheels give the orders. Other people carry them out. As in many machines, a big wheel makes the little wheels turn.
Big wheel是另外一种描述重要人物的方式。Big wheel可能是公司负责人、政治领袖、或著名影星。他们是Big wheel,因为他们极具影响力。他们的所作所为能够影响很多人。Big wheels下达命令,其他人来贯彻落实。就像在许多机器中,大轮带动小轮转。

Big wheel [became] a popular expression after World War Two. It probably comes from an expression used for many years by people who fix parts of cars and trucks. They said a person rolled a big wheel if he was important and had influence.
二战后,Big wheel变成一个常用表达,它可能源于轿车或卡车修理工人使用了很多年的一种说法。这些工人称,如果一个人很重要而且有影响力,就由他来转动大轮。

The top of something is the highest part. So it is not surprising that top is part of another expression that describes an important person. The expression is top banana. A top banana is the leading person in a comedy show. The funniest comedian is called the top banana. The next is second banana. And so on.
某个物体的顶部是最高的部分,所以top是另一个描述重要人物的短语的一部分,这并不奇怪。这个短语就是top banana。Top Banana是喜剧中的主角。最有趣的喜剧演员被称为top banana,接下来就是second banana。以此类推。

Why a banana? A comedy act in earlier days often included a part where one of the comedians would hit the others over the head with a soft object. The object was shaped like the yellow fruit: the banana.
为什么用banana来表示呢?早期的戏剧表演通常都包含这样一个部分:其中一个喜剧演员会用一个柔软的物体敲打其他人的头。这个物体的形状就像香蕉。

Top banana still is used mainly in show business. Yet the expression can also be used to describe the top person in any area.
Top banana仍主要用于娱乐行业。然而,这个短语还可以用来形容任何领域的重要人物。

A kingpin is another word for an important person. The expression comes from the game of bowling. The kingpin is the number one pin. If hit correctly with the bowling ball, the kingpin will make all the other nine pins fall. And that is the object of the game.
Kingpin(首领、头目)是另一个形容重要人物的短语。这个短语来自保龄球。Kingpin是保龄球中最重要的球瓶。如果正确地用保龄球击中它,kingpin能让其它九个球瓶都落下去。而这就是打保龄球的目标。

So, the most important person in a project or business is the kingpin. If the kingpin is removed, the business or project is likely to fail.
因此,一个项目或企业中最重要的人就被称为kingpin。如果kingpin被撤职,这个企业或项目就可能会失败。

Kingpin is often used to describe an important criminal, or the leader of a criminal gang. A newspaper may report, for example, that police have arrested the suspected kingpin of a car-stealing operation.
Kingpin通常被用于描述一个重要的罪犯,或者犯罪团伙的头目。例如报纸可能会报道说,警察逮捕了偷车团伙的头目。

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