又中又英——peter out

  A popular theory about the coronavirus has been debunked. Disease experts had debunked the theory months ago but many people still clung on to it. The theory was that the coronavirus would peter out in the summer heat. May and June 2020 were the hottest months on record worldwide. But the coronavirus has not petered out. It is still spreading even in countries with hot climates, such as India. I had at first also believed the coronavirus would peter out in the summer. Now I know it was just a load of bunk. The virus has petered out a bit in places such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand. This was due to social distancing and wearing facemasks, not the heat.

  To debunk something means to show or prove that a widely-held belief is false or nonsense. The expression “cling on” used this way means to hold on to a belief or theory. Many people cling on to the belief that eating certain types of foods can protect them from the coronavirus. This is a load of bunk. If something peters out, it means it gradually stops or disappears. When Sars first started in mainland China in November 2002, no one knew how to control it. But it petered out after about eight months. The coronavirus, which started last year in Wuhan, has not petered out. It has killed and infected far more people than Sars.

  The American slang expression “load of bunk” means a lot of nonsense or foolish talk. The word “bunk” used in this expression is a shortened version of the American slang word “bunkum”, which means nonsense or empty talk. I love to travel. When I go on trips I always use Cathay Pacific to support Hong Kong’s airline. But the coronavirus has made travel impossible. I am hoping against hope the virus will peter out soon. To hope against hope means to hope or strongly believe something will happen even though it is unlikely. Once the virus is gone I will rush to Cathay’s airport lounge for a glass of wine!

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  有關新冠肺炎的一個很流行的理論已經被駁斥(debunked)。疾病專家好幾個月前已經駁斥了(debunked)這個理論,但許多人仍死抱不放(clung on)。那個理論是,新冠病毒會在炎熱夏天中逐漸消失(peter out)。二○二○年的五月和六月,在全球各地都是有記錄以來最熱的月份,然而,新冠病毒並沒有漸漸消失(petered out),在有着炎熱氣候的國家如印度中,仍然在擴散。我最初也相信新冠病毒會在夏天消逝(peter out),現在我知道那只不過是一派胡言(a load of bunk)。病毒在一些地方,例如台灣、香港和泰國,都有點消退(petered out)的跡象,但這是因為社交距離及戴口罩,而非因酷暑。

  To debunk something是指去駁斥或揭穿一個廣泛流傳的信念是錯的、胡說八道的。習語“cling on”在這裏是指,去死抱着一個信念又或理論,對之深信不疑。許多人死抱着(cling on)一個信念,就是吃某些特定的食物可以保障他們不會感染到新冠肺炎——這是一派胡言(a load of bunk)。若某事 peters out,意即它正逐漸終止或消失。當沙士於二○○二年首先於中國內地爆發時,沒有人知道要怎樣去控制它;但它在大約八個月以後逐漸消失(petered out)。而於去年在武漢爆發的新冠肺炎,卻還沒有逐漸消失(petered out),它所殺死和感染的人數,已遠遠超越了沙士。

  美式俚語“load of bunk”就是指一派胡言、廢話連篇。Bunk在這習語中,是美式俚語“bunkum”的簡寫,意即胡說或空洞的說話。我喜愛旅遊。當我去旅遊的時候,我總是選搭國泰航空,以支持香港的航空公司。然而,新冠肺炎令旅遊變得不再可能。我仍抱着一絲希望(hoping against hope),這個病毒會盡早消失(peter out)。To hope against hope是指即使機會渺茫,仍懷有一絲希望或信念。只要病毒一走,我就會衝去國泰的機場貴賓室,好好歎杯酒!中譯:七刻



Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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