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Verb Phrases With Special Meanings


1. to have(many) irons in the fire: to have a lot of activities going on at the same time(同时有许多事,想马上全部做完,但又不知从何开始,似乎忙得不可开交)

Don't bother him because he has many irons in the fire. (別打扰他,他事情太多,忙得很!)
Some people even like to have many irons in the fire. (有些人喜欢有很多事忙忙碌碌。)

2. to talk over (one's) head(s): to use large or big words so that audience will not understand exact meaning(指所谈论的内容过于专业或高深,非一般人可以理解;也指有人为了表現自己才学非凡,故意谈些高深理论或用些难字,吓唬別人)
Dr. Lee's lecture was so specialized that he almost talked over our heads. (李博士的演讲太专业了,几乎使我们无法理解。)
In order to show his profound knowledge he talks over my head. (为了表現他的学问高深,他故弄玄虚。)

3. to put (something) back into (in) its cage: to put something under control (可以控制某件事情,多半指政治、健康等)

We are trying to put inflation back into its cage and our economy is on the mend. (我们正在设法控制通货膨胀,同时改善我们得经济。)
Diplomats and politicians need to put aggression and hostility back into its cage. (外交官和政客应该收敛攻击和敌对的行为。)

4. to keep (one's) fingers crossed: to hope something good will happen (祝福某人好运或一切顺利。把食指与中指交叉,祈求好运,是老外的迷信,但在写信或正式场合,多半是用 "I wish you best (good) luck!"或 "Good (best) luck to you!")

He keeps his fingers crossed hoping his father will send him more money. (他盼望有好运,老爸能多寄点钱给他。)
Many people have been keeping their fingers crossed that we can live in a peaceful world. (许多人都在祈求好运,盼能在和平的世界里生活。)

5. to stretch (one's) legs: to relax or to take a short break (久坐后,把腿舒展一下,或稍微休息一下)

Let's take ten minutes to stretch our legs. (让我们先休息十分钟。)
May I take a break so that I can stretch my legs? (我可以休息一会儿伸伸腿吗?)
During the a long flight from the US to Taiwan, I normally stretch my legs every two hours. (在从美国到台湾的长途飞行中,我通常每两个小时起身走走。)

6. to read between the lines:to interpret the hidden meaning or a hidden message; to discern the true fact (从字里行间体会隐含的意义;领会言外之意或能了解其中的真正意义)

As you look at this poem, be sure to read between the lines. (读这首诗的时候,要从字里行间去体会它的含义。)
After he re-read the love letter between the lines, he realized that he was dumped by his sweetheart. (重读情书之后,他终于明白他已经被情人抛弃了。)

7. to let off steam:to give vent to one's anger (发泄、出气,像放掉蒸汽以减少压力似的。这与"to fly off the handle"意思相近,但比"to lose temper"委婉客气些 )

What will you do if your wife lets off steam?(假如你太太大发脾气的话,你该怎么办呢?) (因为谈论的对象使对方的太太,所以语气要委婉客气些)。

但是谈到第三者,就可不必太委婉,可用 lose temper:
What will you do if one of your staff lose temper? (如果你的同事冲你发脾气你该怎么办呢?)
Occasionally we should be given a chance to let off steam.(我们应该不时的发泄一下情绪。)

. to pay through the nose: to pay too much for something or excessively expensive (花费太多,代价过高,与" to cost an arm and a leg" 意义相近)

Don't pay through the nose when you buy the furniture. (不要花太多的钱买家具。)
Some women paid through the noses for their jewelry. (有些女人花大把的钱购买珠宝首饰。)

9. to take center stage:to be in the spotlight (引人注目的中心人物;以某人为公众瞩目的对象)

Mrs. Lin always takes center stage at a party. (林太太总能成为宴会上的焦点。)
President Bush takes center stage wherever he goes. (布什总统不论走到哪里,都是公众瞩目的焦点。)
His constant taking center stage could deprive him of his privacy. (他好出风头的毛病让他毫无隐私可言。)

10. to drag(one's)feet:to procrastinate or postpone(慢慢的拖延,行动迟缓,拖拖拉拉)

It is not a good idea to drag your feet when the work needs to be done. (拖延工作是不好的。)
No employers like for their employees to drag their feet on any project. (工作拖拖拉拉的员工总是不受欢迎的。)

11. to paint(someone or oneself)into a corner:to trap oneself or someone; to be in trouble(使自己或某人陷入困境, 应该注意的是即使主语是复数形式,corner 仍然用单数)

Don't try to paint yourself into a corner. (不要让自己身陷困境,无法脱身。)
After a heated debate with his boss, Mr. Chen has painted himself into a corner. (和老板激烈的争辩之后,陈先生处境十分不妙。)

12. to ask (someone) for (one's) hand: to ask girl's parents for marriage approval(指男人请求女方家长应允将女儿嫁给他, 这里的"someone"是指女方的家长,"one"则是指要求婚的对象,hand 只能用单数形式)

Mr. Su asked me for my daughter's hand. (苏先生到我家来向我女儿提亲。)
He has asked her parents for their daughter's hand. (他请求她的父母应允他们的婚事。)

13. to move onward and upward:to be promoted; from good to better situation(情况得以改善,或往更好的情況发展)

He hopes to move onward and upward with his current company. (他希望能在现在就职的公司里顺利发展,步步高升。)
Many young couples try to move onward and upward during their marriage. (许多年轻夫妇都希望能够婚姻美满幸福。)

14. to call a spade a spade: to be honest, blunt or frank(直言不讳,有啥说啥)

My wife always calls a spade a spade about her work situation. (我妻子对别人谈起她的工作时,总是直言不讳。)
Calling a spade a spade on foreign affairs sometimes seems difficult for diplomats. (外交官在处理外交事务的时候很难做到直言不讳。)

15. to play cat and mouse:to play games with aggressive and passive attitude(玩猫戏老鼠的把戏,欲擒故纵)

In business negotiations, there are always cat-and-mouse games. (在商业谈判中,常会有一些猫戏老鼠的把戏。)
The police have played cat and mouse with the murderer. (警察对凶犯采用的是欲擒故纵的策略。)

16. to go on the dole:(of the unemployed) to live on public welfare(失业人员依靠政府救济金生活。)

Thousands of Americans are out of jobs and may go on the dole. (美国成千上万的失业者靠领取政局救济金生活。)
Some people have gone on the dole for years. (有些人多年来就是靠政府救济生活的。)

17. to be in the hot seat:to be under lots of pressure or in a difficult position(处于困境,面对很多压力)

He has resigned from his job because he has been in the hot seat for years. (由于不堪多年的工作压力,他终于辞职了。)
When testifies before Congress, he will be in the hot seat. (在国会作证的时候,他将面临巨大的压力。)

18. to make waves:to make trouble (惹是生非, 与"rock the boat"意思相近)

Many politicians like to make waves in order to be kept in the media. (许多政客为了能在媒体上路脸儿而不惜哗众取宠。)
Teenagers tend to make waves with their parents and teachers. (一些青少年总是会给父母和老师惹麻烦。)

19. to keep (one's) nose clean:to keep away from trouble(远离是非,少惹麻烦)

The newly released inmates are trying to keep their noses clean. (刚刚获释的犯人总是尽量少惹是非。)
A law-abiding person needs to keep his (her) nose clean. (奉公守法的人应该避免制造麻烦。)

20. to drive (someone) up the wall:to annoy or upset someone(惹人生气或者不高兴)

The boy is driving his mother up the wall because of his ill behavior. (这个不听话的孩子让他妈妈大为头痛。)
If you ask too many questions, you may drive your boss up the wall. (假如你的问题太多也会让你的老板很反感。)

21. to write (someone or something)off:to throw away or to discard(抛弃或者丢弃); to deduct a business loss(在经商失败时,也用于报销、注销或扣除损失的数额中)

After a hot argument, she wrote off her boyfriend. (她和男朋友大吵了一架之后,就把他甩了。)
He will write off the charitable contributions from his income taxes. (他从所得税中扣除了慈善募捐的金额。)

22. to take up with (someone):to date someone or to fall in love with someone(对某人产生兴趣,或与某人开始亲密交往)

After he met her at the bar, he took up with her. (自从在酒吧见过一面之后,他对她产生了兴趣。)
As she is such a pretty woman, many men would like to take up with her. (像她这么漂亮的女人,许多男人都对她有兴趣。)

24. to pave the way to (or for):to make the path or to lay a groundwork of something (为…… 铺平道路或为……做好准备)

A good education will pave the way to finding a decent job. (好的教育是好的工作的基础。)
Early space exploration has paved the way for the current space station. (早期的太空探索为如今的太空站建设奠定了基础。)

25. to paint the town red:to enjoy oneself; to have a good time(尽情享受)

He is going out tonight to paint the town red. (他今天晚上要玩个痛快。)
Miss Chen really painted the town red last week with her friends. (陈小姐上周和朋友玩得很尽兴。)


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