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

    Every language has its own special words and expressions. And a story can be told about each of them.

    Hot is a simple, easily understood word. So are most of the expressions made with the word hot. But not always, as we shall see.

    The words hot potato, for example, give you no idea at all to the meaning of the expression, hot potato.
    例如hot potota这个短语,从字面上你完全看不出是什么意思。

    The potato is a popular vegetable in the United States. Many people like baked potatoes, cooked in an oven or fire.  Imagine trying to carry a hot, baked potato in your hand. It would be difficult, even painful, to do so.

    Now we are getting close to the meaning of hot potato.
    现在我们已经开始接近hot potato的意思了。

    Some publicly disputed issues are highly emotional. The issues must be treated carefully, or they will be difficult and painful if an elected official has to deal with them. As difficult and painful as holding a hot potato.
    注:hot potato直译就是烫手土豆,跟中文最接近的俗语就是烫手山芋。

    One such hot potato is taxes.

    Calling for higher taxes can mean defeat for a politician. And yet, if taxes are not raised, some very popular government programs could be cut. And that also can make a politician very unpopular. So the questions must be dealt with carefully, the same way you would handle any other hot potato.

    Another expression is not so hot. If you ask someone how she feels, she may answer "not so hot."  What she means is she does not feel well.
    另外一个短语是not so hot。如果你问一个人她感觉如何,她可能会回答“not so hot”。她的意思是说感觉不是太好。

    Not so hot also is a way of saying that you do not really like something. You may tell a friend that the new play you saw last night is not so hot. That means you did not consider it a success.
    Not so hot也用于表达不喜欢某事物。你可能对朋友说,你昨晚看的新话剧也就那样(not so hot)。意思是说你认为该话剧不太成功。

    A hot shot is a person, often a young person, who thinks he can do anything. At least he wants to try. He is very sure he can succeed. But often he fails. The expression was born in the military forces. A hot shot was a soldier who fired without aiming carefully.
    Hot shot是指自以为无所不能的人,通常是年轻人。至少他想去尝试。他非常确定自己能够成功,但常常会失败。这个短语诞生于军队,hot shot是指不认真瞄准就射击的士兵。

    Hot is a word that is often used to talk about anger.

    A person who becomes angry easily is called a hothead. An angry person's neck often becomes red. We say he is hot under the collar. You could say that your friend is no hothead. But he got hot under the collar when someone took his radio.
    容易动怒的人被称为hothead(急性子,暴脾气)。动怒了的人脖子常常会变红,我们说他hot under the collar(怒气冲冲)。你可能会说你的朋友不是暴脾气,但当人拿了他的收音机时他会怒气冲冲。

    In nineteen sixty-three, hot line appeared as a new expression.
    1963年,hot line作为一个新词汇出现了。

    The hot line was a direct communications link between the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States. The hot line had an important purpose: to prevent accidental war between the two competitors during the period known as the Cold War. The American president and the Soviet leader were able to communicate directly and immediately on the hot line. This helped prevent any conflict during an international crisis.
    Hot line(热线)是指前苏联和美国领导人的直接通信线路。热线有一个重要的目的:防止冷战期间这2个竞争对手之间的突发战争。两国领导人可以通过热线直接、快速地沟通。这有助于防止在当时的国际危机期间出现任何冲突。