又中又英——“give someone the willies”

  While watching an old movie on Netflix recently, I heard an American expression I had almost forgotten. The expression was “give someone the willies”. Hardly anyone in Hong Kong uses this expression. That’s why I had almost forgotten it. The expression “the willies” means a strong feeling of nervousness, discomfort, or fright. If you give someone “the willies”, it means you make them feel nervous or uncomfortable. Many people get the willies if they notice a stranger tailing them at night on a dark street. The word “tailing” used this way means following. Watching a horror movie can also give some people the willies. A horror movie is a movie that frightens people.

  I watched a horror movie about Count Dracula when I was very young. It gave me the willies. The word “count” has many meanings and can be used in many ways but used this way as a noun it is a title for a person of noble birth in parts of Europe. A female is called a Countess. The British equivalent title of a Count is an Earl. Dracula is a novel by Bram Stoker published in 1897 about a Count living in an isolated castle in Transylvania, a region in Romania. Count Dracula is a vampire who travels to England where he sucks the blood of people until he is finally killed by a professor.

  There are many spin-off movies and TV shows about Count Dracula but to me the original I watched as a young boy is still the scariest. The word “spin-off” used this way means a TV show, series, or a movie using similar characters as a previous TV show, series, or movie. Another expression for the willies is “the creeps”. If someone gives you the creeps, it means that person makes you feel uncomfortable or nervous. Yet another similar expression is “the jitters”. If you have the jitters, it means you have a feeling of extreme nervousness.

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  最近在Netflix看一套舊電影時,聽到一個美式習語,我幾近忘記了。這個習語是“give someone the willies”。在香港,幾乎沒有人會用這個習語,因此我都差不多把它給忘了。習語“the willies”即一種緊張、不安或是毛骨悚然的感覺。若你give someone “the willies”,意即你使某人緊張不安。若是晚上在一條漆黑的街道上,發現有個陌生人尾隨(tailing)自己,許多人都會心驚膽戰、惶恐不安(get the willies)。Tailing在這裏是指尾隨、跟蹤。觀看一齣恐怖片(horror movie),也可以令某些人感到毛骨悚然(the willies)。 A horror movie就是嚇人的恐怖電影。

  我還是很年輕的時候,看過一齣關於德古拉伯爵(Count Dracula)的恐怖片(horror movie),它令我害怕得心裏發毛(the willies)。Count一字有許多意思,亦可以有許多用法,但在這裏是作名詞用,是歐洲某些地區的貴族爵位名號;女伯爵則被稱為Countess。英國相對應的伯爵(Count)稱謂則為Earl。《德古拉》(Dracula)是一八九七年出版,由布拉姆‧斯托克所著的小說,描述一位伯爵(Count)住於羅馬尼亞一個地區,外西凡尼亞一個與世隔絕的城堡內。德古拉伯爵(Count Dracula)是個吸血殭屍,會到英格蘭吸人血,直至最終被一位教授殺掉。

  關於德古拉伯爵(Count Dracula),有許多衍生的(spin-off)電影與電視節目,但於我而言,始終還是我男孩時候所看,原初的那一齣最可怕。Spin-off在這裏是指衍生的電視節目、電視劇或電影,是沿用之前的電視節目、電視劇或電影相同或類近的角色。The willies的另一個說法是“the creeps”;若某人gives you the creeps,意即那人令你寒毛直豎、害怕得起雞皮疙瘩。還有一個類近的習語是“the jitters”;若你have the jitters,意即你極度緊張、神經兮兮、心煩意亂的。

  mickchug@gmail.com

  中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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