英语短语(Go) out on a limb的意思及起源


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Out on a limb是一个实用的短语,在美国口语中经常出现。Dictionary.com对其的英文解释为:in a dangerous or compromising situation; vulnerable。Out on a limb翻译为中文的意思是“处于危险的境地”,“脆弱”。理解这个词的关键在于limb这个单词,limb在这里并非指“肢体”,而是“树枝”(tree branches),当你on a limb(爬到树枝之上),树枝随时可能折断,处境的危险不言而喻。该短语其实属于一种比喻性表达(figurative expression)。

注意到我们的文章标题中,短语里有一个带括号的go,没错,Go out on a limb也是一个固定搭配,但它和out on a limb的意思是有区别的,来看Knowyourphrase.com对go out on a limb的英语解释:”1. Putting yourself in a risky or precarious situation in order to help someone. 2. Taking a wild guess or expressing an opinion that might not be shared by others.” Go out on a limb可以有两种含义:为了助人而将自己置于险地;大胆猜测并表达不受欢迎的观点。关于go out on a limb的起源(origin),该网站给出了一种推测:

Cats will sometimes climb high up into a tree and then, perhaps out of fear, are unable to climb their way back down to the ground. Consequently, a caring pet owner may decide to climb the tree, and thus, go out on a literal limb to save their helpless cat. This is a major risk, because tree branches can potentially break under the weight of a person. As a matter of fact, people have died while attempting to rescue their cats from trees, so be careful.

实际上,go out on a limb在日常用法中逐渐衍生出一种新的含义,那就是“taking chances”(冒险),而冒险的目的可能并非为了帮助他人



为了帮助你更好地理解并掌握go out on a limb的用法,Will的美语课还帮你挑选了几个(go) out on a limb的例句,你可以试着比较该短语在不同语境下的(细微)意思差异:

  • The company overextended itself financially and was soon out on a limb.
  • I don’t think we’re going out on a limb in claiming that global warming is a problem that must be addressed.
  • Ok, I’ll go out on a limb and vouch for you.
  • Like I said, I love them all and I’d go out on a limb for anyone.
  • Taylor Swift is a pretty accessible woman, considering she’s a mega pop star. But in the middle of her Tuesday concert, one fan decided to go out on a limb to get her attention.

以上就是关于go out on a limb的中文意思解释,如果你有任何问题或建议,欢迎通过留言或微信公众号和Will老师交流。

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