又中又英——Hunker down

  Most disease experts believe there will be a new coronavirus pandemic in the fall (autumn in British English) when the flu season starts. The combination of a new coronavirus outbreak and the flu could mean the return of stricter social distancing rules. Dr Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert and White House adviser, warned last week Americans must prepare for a second wave of the coronavirus. The US is still in the first wave of the pandemic. Dr Fauci said Americans must "hunker down" during the fall and winter and wait for a vaccine. The expression "hunker down" means to bend your knees so that you are sitting on your heels very close to the ground. The word "squat" has the same meaning.

  But the expression also means to prepare for a difficult situation or stay in a safe place until a difficulty or danger has passed. That was what Dr Fauci meant when he said Americans must "hunker down". He said the coronavirus is "whackable" if Americans follow social distancing rules, wash hands, and wear facemasks. The adjective "whackable" comes from the word "whack", which means to hit someone or something hard. Most dictionaries, including the Oxford Dictionary, do not list the word "whackable". Dr Fauci used the word "whack" and turned it into an adjective. What he meant was the coronavirus is controllable, if people hit it hard by wearing facemasks and following social distancing rules.

  Dr Fauci said the world must "put a lid on" the coronavirus until there is a vaccine. A lid is the cover of a pan or pot. People sometimes put a lid on a pan when they cook certain types of things. But the expression "put a lid on" something means to keep something under control and stop it from increasing or getting worse. When Dr Fauci said the US and the world must "put a lid on" the virus during the fall and winter, he meant people must stop the virus from spreading. Places like Taiwan and Macau have already put a lid on the virus.

*****

  大部份的疾病專家都認為,當秋天(fall,英式英語為autumn)流感季節開始時,將會有新一波新冠肺炎全球疫情爆發。新一波的新冠肺炎爆發結合流感,意味着更嚴謹的社交距離措施將會來臨。傳染病專家及白宮顧問安東尼.佛奇醫生上星期提醒美國人,要防備第二波新冠肺炎疫情。美國還在處於第一波的疫情中。佛奇醫生說,美國人必須在秋(fall)冬期間“hunker down”,等候疫苗面世。習語“hunker down”是指屈膝蹲坐,“squat”的意思亦一樣。

  然而,這個習語也指去為艱難的環境作好準備,又或留在安全環境躲避,直至困難或危機過去。當佛奇醫生說美國人要“hunker down”的時候,就是這個意思。他說,新冠肺炎是“whackable”,若美國人遵從社交距離措施、勤水洗手和戴口罩。形容詞“whackable”來自“whack”一字,意即重擊某人或某事。大部份的字典,包括牛津字典,也沒有收錄“whackable”一字。佛奇醫生用了“whack”一字並將它轉成形容詞。他的意思是,新冠肺炎是可控制的,若人們戴口罩及遵從社交距離措施,就可給它重重一擊。

  佛奇醫生說,世界必須給新冠肺炎「蓋上蓋子」(put a lid on),直至有疫苗出現。A lid就是鍋或煲的蓋。人們煮某些特定菜式時,會蓋上平底鍋的蓋(put a lid on a pan)。但習語“put a lid on”something是指將某事控制好,阻止它增長又或惡化。當佛奇醫牛說美國和全球必須在秋(fall)冬季期間“put a lid on”the virus,他的意思是人們必須阻止病毒傳播。台灣和澳門等地,都已經阻截了病毒的擴散(put a lid on the virus)。

[email protected]

中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


hd