又中又英——“oleaginous”、“toadyism”

  One of America's most famous conservative writers, George Will, wrote a column last week that surprised many people. Even though Will is right-wing, he has no respect for Donald Trump. He used his columns to say he wanted Trump to lose the 2016 election. In his column last week he used strong words to insult Trump but used far stronger words to insult Vice President Mike Pence. The column was so strongly-worded that it became a news item. Some words Will used to insult Pence were so unusual I had never heard of them. My good friend Chip Tsao (To Kit) told me he had to use the dictionary for the meaning of one of the words. I must admit I had to do the same.

  The word Will used to insult Pence was “oleaginous”. This word is not difficult to pronounce but is very insulting when used against a person. The ordinary meaning of this word is very oily or producing a lot of oil. But when used as a slang word, oily can mean “slimy”. The slang word meaning of “slimy” describes a person who is dishonest or immoral. The other meaning of the adjective “oleaginous” describes someone who is polite, kind, or helpful in a false way to get an advantage or benefit. This word became the most searched word on the internet after Will used it to insult Pence. The headline of his column was “Trump is no longer the worst person in government”.

  Another insulting word Will used against Pence was “toadyism” which comes from the noun “toady”. A “toady” is a person who praises or kowtows to bosses or powerful people to get an advantage from them. It is clear from Will’s column that he has no respect for Pence. He said Pence could become America’s “most repulsive public figure”. The word “repulsive” means disgusting, hateful, or very unacceptable. After reading Will’s column, it proved to me again the importance of a free media. Only democracies allow the media to attack their leaders.

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  美國其中一位最知名的保守派作家喬治‧威爾,上星期寫了一篇震驚許多人的專欄文章。儘管威爾是右翼的,他卻毫不尊重特朗普。他曾透過他的專欄,說他希望特朗普輸掉二○一六年的選舉。在他上周的專欄中,他用了強烈的言詞去辱罵特朗普,但用了更猛烈的措詞去侮辱副總統米克‧彭斯。那篇專欄文章措詞強硬得變成了一則新聞條目。威爾辱罵彭斯時所用到的一些言詞,罕見得我簡直從未聽說過。我的好友陶傑跟我說,他要翻字典才能理解其中一個字,我不得不承認我也要這樣做。

  威爾用來侮辱彭斯的字是“oleaginous”,這個字並不難發音,但用來攻擊一個人時就非常侮辱。這個字的原意是很油膩(oily),或是產生許多油份的,但當用作俚語時,oily則可解作“slimy”,而“slimy”作俚語用時則形容人油腔滑調、虛偽、可鄙的。形容詞oleaginous的另一個意思就是形容某人諂媚、巴結奉迎的,為了私利或好處而假裝熱情或滿口恭維。威爾用了這個字去侮辱彭斯後,它就成了網絡熱搜字。他的專欄文章的標題是:「特朗普不再是政府裏最差的人了」。

  另一個威爾用來侮辱彭斯的字是“toadyism”,它來源於名詞“toady”。A “toady”就是卑躬屈膝、阿諛奉承上司或有權勢者的馬屁精。威爾的文章明顯反映對彭斯無一絲尊重。他說,彭斯會成為美國「最repulsive的公眾人物」;repulsive解作令人噁心、厭惡,或非常難以接受的。讀過威爾的文章後,對我而言是再一次證明自由媒體的重要性。只有民主的政體容許傳媒抨擊他們的領導人。

中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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