Michael Chugani 褚簡寧 - doesn't hold water|又中又英

While watching TV recently I heard an expression I had not used or heard in a long time. I had to Google it to remind myself what it meant. The expression I heard was “won’t hold an ounce of water”. The actual expression is “doesn’t hold water” but the person on TV said “won’t hold an ounce of water” to make his point stronger. If something doesn’t hold water, it means it is not true or logical. If you tell your teacher your dog urinated on your homework, your teacher will likely say your reason for not having your homework doesn’t hold water.

The person on TV said “won’t hold an ounce of water” to make clear he doesn't believe even a little bit of what he was being told. He used the word “ounce”, which is a small amount, to emphasize he doesn’t believe even a small amount of what he was being told. The expression “doesn’t hold water” has been in use since the 1600s. Water in a bucket full of holes will, of course, leak out. The bucket, therefore, doesn’t hold water and is useless. That may be how the expression originated because an excuse can be so full of holes it cannot be believed.

The expression “full of holes” is similar to “doesn’t hold water”. It is used to describe something that is unconvincing or hard to believe. If you tell a judge you were late because the taxi driver didn’t know where the court was, the judge could say your excuse is full of holes.
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最近看電視時,聽到一個我已很久沒有用或聽別人用的習語了。我要用谷歌搜尋,提醒自己它是何意。那個我聽到的習語是“won’t hold an ounce of water”。這個習語真正的說法應為“doesn’t hold water”,但電視上的那人說成“won’t hold an ounce of water”去強調他的觀點。若某事doesn’t hold water,意即那事不屬實或不合理,根本站不住腳。若你跟你的老師說,你的狗撒尿在你的功課上了,你的老師很大可能會說,你欠交功課的理由實在站不住腳(doesn’t hold water)。
  電視上那人說“won’t hold an ounce of water”,去清楚表明他壓根兒不相信他聽來的東西。他用上“ounce”一字,是很小的單位「安士」,去強調他毫不相信他所聽來的,哪怕是一丁點。習語“doesn’t hold water”自十七世紀便已有人在用。一個千瘡百孔的水桶想當然會漏水,因此那個水桶就doesn’t hold water ,不再能盛水,是無用的。這也許是這習語的由來,因為一個滿是漏洞(full of holes)的藉口實不足信。

習語“full of holes”跟“doesn’t hold water”相似,是用來形容某事有許多破綻,不能令人信服或難以置信。若你跟法官說,你遲到是因為的士司機不曉得法庭在哪裏,法官也可以說你的藉口是full of holes,漏洞百出。
Michael Chugani褚簡寧
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧