Knock 'em dead:不是把谁敲死

Knock 'em dead:不是把谁敲死

Knock on Wood' for Good Luck

Knock on Wood:敲木头求好运

Now, Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English.


Each week on this program, we talk about common words and expressions in the English language.


Today, we tell about the word "knock." To help explain expressions using "knock," you will hear scripted dialogues. We will also use songs. We really want to knock your socks off!

今天,我们来讲述knock这个单词。为了有助于解释包含knock的一些表达,你将会听到一些脚本对话,我们还会利用一些歌曲。我们真的想要惊艳到你(to knock your socks off)。

In other words, we want to have such an effect on you that your socks fly off your feet! So to speak.


Another expression with a similar meaning is "Knock ‘em dead!"

另一句具有相似含义的表达是让他们折服(Knock 'em dead)。

Usually, we say this to close friends or family members when we want them to do a really great job at something. It is an easy-going, informal way to give someone motivation.


So, if a friend has a very important meeting, you can say to her, "Don't worry. You will knock ‘em dead!" In other words, you are going to impress them so much that they will fall over dead! Not actually, of course.


The "e-m" in this expression is short for the word "them." But when saying this expression, we don't say "them." We say the informal, shortened form of the word -- pronounced ‘em. And we say it quickly blending the words together: Knock ‘em dead.

这句表达中的e-m是them的缩写。但是在说这句表达的时候,我们不用them,而是用它的这种非正式的缩写形式,发音为'em。我们要把它们快速连读:Knock ‘em dead。

Now, as a verb, "knock" has many meanings. The most common is to simply knock on something, or hit it, with your fist. For example, you knock on a door when you want to enter someone's house. That you probably know. But did you know that when you want good luck, you should knock on wood?

作为动词,knock有多种含义,最常见的含义就是用拳头敲击或敲打东西。例如,当你要进入某人的房子时,你会敲门。你可能知道这一点。但是你知道吗,当你希望好运时,你应该敲木头(knock on wood)

Knock on wood is something we either do or say (or both) to bring good luck.


This custom may come from ancient times when people believed that gods existed in nature. So, for example, knocking on a tree was thought to bring good luck. Even if they don't believe it to be true, many Americans say "Knock on wood!" to mean "Wish me good luck!"

这种习俗可能来自远古时代,那时人们相信上帝存在于自然界。因此,举例来说,敲树被认为会带来好运。即使他们不相信这是真的,很多美国人也会说“Knock on wood!”来代表是祝我好运!”

Now, another way we use "knock" as a verb is to combine it with the word "around."


To knock around is to walk around without a clear purpose. So, you can knock around your neighborhood, a ball field or city streets. One day on a visit to New York City, I knocked around Central Park for a good two hours! And it was not a waste of time. So, don't knock me for spending so much time knocking around!

To knock around”是指漫无目的地瞎转悠。所以,你可以在社区、球场或是街头瞎转悠。有一天我去纽约,就在中央公园瞎转悠了两个小时,这可不是浪费时间。所以,不要因为我这样瞎转悠了半天而批评我。

And this brings us to yet another meaning of the word "knock."


It also means to criticize. If you knock something you find fault with it. So, if someone criticizes your career choice, you can say, "Why are you knocking my job? It's my business what I do. Not yours."

它也意味着批评。如果你批评什么,肯定是对它不满。所以,如果有人批评你的职业选择,你可以说:“你为什么批评我的工作(knocking my job)?我做什么是我的事,跟你何干?”

We use this meaning of "knock" in another informal expression: Don't knock it 'till you've tried it. This means you should not criticize something you have not tried.

我们在另一种非正式表达中也用到knock的这层含义:Don't knock it 'till you've tried it,意思是你不应该批评你没有尝试过的东西。

Another common expression is to simply tell someone to "knock it off!" This is a forceful and somewhat childish way to say "Stop it!"

另一种常见表达就是直接告诉别人闭嘴(to knock it off),这是让人闭嘴(stop it)的一种暴力且有些幼稚的说法。

There is another "knock" expression that we use only in special situations. So, let's say somebody wants to do something and you really don't care if they do it or if they don't. In that case, you could say, "Knock yourself out."

还有一种包含knock的表达,我们只在特殊情况下使用。假设有人想要做某事,而你对此毫不在意。在这种情况下,你就可以说:“请自便。(Knock yourself out.)”

Let's hear it used in these two short dialogues.

1. A: Wow, your sandwich looks good.


B: It is good. But I'm full.


A: Can I finish the rest?


B: Knock yourself out.


2. A: Hey, are you going to be home this weekend?


B: Yes. Why do you ask?


A: Well, I want to throw a party. Since you're my roommate, I'd thought I'd check with you first.


B: I don't care.


A: Are you sure? It might be loud.


B: Knock yourself out!


On the Formal/Informal Scale – if we were to have one -- this term would rate as very informal. So, only use it with your good friends and not your employer, your friend's grandparents or a university professor.


Speaking of university, some people go there to learn. While others learn from experience. And difficult experiences can be the best teacher. In a way, they are a lot like school. And we call that school the school of hard knocks.

说到大学,有人去大学学习,而有人则从经历中学习。艰难的经历会是最好的老师。在某种程度上,它们也很像是一所学校,我们称之为“社会大学/历练大学”(school of hard knocks)

In the school of hard knocks, you learn something as a result of difficult or unpleasant experiences. The term "hard knocks" means the situations in life that try to knock you down, but you won't give up.

在这所充满坎坷“社会大学”里,你会从困难或不愉快的经历中学到一些东西。“hard knock”这个词指的是生活中那些试图击倒你,但你不会放弃的情况。

And that brings us to the end of this Words and Their Stories.


Until next time ... I'm Anna Matteo.