Now, the VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories. Today, we tell about the word wildcat.
Humans have always depended on animals. From the beginning of human history, wild animals provided food, clothing and sometimes medicine.
We may not depend as much on wild animals now. But we hear about them every day. Americans use the names of animals in many ways.
Many companies use animals to make us want to buy their goods. Automobile companies, for example, love to show fast horses when they are trying to sell their cars. They also name their cars for other fast powerful animals.
Automobile manufacturers and gasoline companies especially like to use big cats to sell their products. They like lions,tigers and wildcats.
When Americans say wildcat, they usually mean a lynx, an ocelot or a bobcat. All these cats attack quickly and fiercely. So wildcats represent something fast and fierce.
What better way is there to sell a car than to say it is as fast as a wildcat. Or, what better way is there to sell gasoline than to say that using it is like putting a tiger in your tank.
An early American use of the word wildcat was quite different. It was used to describe members of Congress who declared war on Britain in eighteen twelve. A magazine of that year said the wildcat congressmen went home. It said they were unable to face the responsibility of having involved their country in an unnecessary war.
Wildcat also has been used as a name for money. It was used this way in the eighteen hundreds. At that time, some states permitted banks to make their own money. One bank in the state of Michigan offered paper money with a picture of a wildcat on it.
Some banks, however, did not have enough gold to support all the paper money they offered. So the money had little or no value. It was called a wildcat bill or a wildcat bank note. The banks who offered this money were called wildcat banks.
A newspaper of the time said those were the days of wildcat money. It said a man might be rich in the morning and poor by night.
Wildcat was used in another way in the eighteen hundreds. It was used for an oil well or gold mine that had almost no oil or gold in it. Dishonest developers would buy such property. Then they would sell it and leave town with the money. The buyers were left with worthless holes in the ground. Today, wildcat oil wells are in areas that are not known to have oil. Yet another kind of wildcat is the wildcat strike. That is a strike called without official approval by a union. During World War Two, an American publication accused wildcat strikers of slowing government production.
This VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories, was written by Jeri Watson. I'm Warren Scheer.
现在，人类对动物的依赖性可能不像以前那么强了。可是，我们每天仍能听到许多关于动物的话 。美国人在许多方面都用到动物的名字 。
许多公司使用动物来刺激我们购买他们产品的欲望。例如，汽车制造公司在试图销售他们的汽车做广告时经常用到快速奔跑的骏马 。他们还经常用其他奔跑速度极快的动物来为自己的汽车命名 。
美国人说到野猫，通常指的是猞猁，豹猫或山猫。所有这些猫科动物的攻击速度都非常快，非常凶猛 。所以野猫(wildcats)通常指的是一些很快，很凶猛的事物 。在销售汽车时，用as fast as a wildcat(像野猫一样快)来描述再好不过了 。或者，在销售汽油时，最好的方法就是说，使用这种汽油如同putting a tiger in your tank(在油箱中放置一只老虎) 。
美国最初对wildcat的用法截然不同。这个词最初用来描述1812年对英国宣战的国会议员 。当年的一份杂志称，wildcat congressmen回家了 。据说，他们不能面对将自己的国家卷入不必要的战争的责任 。
Wildcat也曾被用作钱的名字。在19世纪是这样使用的 。当时，一些州政府允许银行自己印制货币 。密歇根州一家银行印制的钱币上有野猫的图像 。
然而，一些银行没有足够的黄金来支持自己发行的纸币。所以，这些纸币价值很低或者几乎没有价值 。这被叫做wildcat bill或者a wildcatbank note 。发行这些纸币的银行被叫做wildcat banks 。当时的一家报纸称，那是wildcat money的时代，一个人早上可能还是富豪，晚上可能就变成穷光蛋了 。
19世纪，wildcat还有另外一个用法，用来指没有石油的油井或者没有黄金的金矿。不诚实的发展商会购买这样的资产，然后将它出售，随后携款潜逃 。购买者收到的仅仅是地面上一个毫无用途的大坑 。今天，wildcat油井指得是那些未探明蕴藏石油的地区 。然而，另外一种wildcat指的是wildcat strike(野猫式罢工，自发罢工)，是工会在未通过官方许可的情况下进行的罢工 。第二次世界大战期间，一家美国出版机构指责野猫式罢工者减缓了政府的生产 。
本期VOA慢速英语词语典故节目由Jeri Watson编辑。我是Warren Scheer 。
e.g. Nowadays many young people ape their pop idols. Some of them even go ape over them. As a result, they neglect their lessons or work.当今许多年轻人模仿流行艺术的偶像。他们当中一些人甚至迷上偶像而忽视功课和学习 。
e.g. At one time, all the young people went ape over the Beetles.一时之间，所有的年轻人都热衷于甲壳虫。
2、cat猫/dog狗—rain cats and dogs下倾盆大雨
e.g. In the middle of the picnic it started to rain cats and dogs, and everyone got soaked.野餐进行到中间，下起了倾盆大雨，大家身上都湿透了。
3、duck鸭—play ducks and drakes打水漂；乱用（金钱）
e.g. Some children are seen to be playing ducks and drakes on the riverbank.一些孩子在河边玩打水漂。
You have no right to play ducks and drakes with money that has been entrusted to you.你无权挥霍大家交付给你的钱。
e.g. He turned chicken and backed out.他害怕起来，不干了。
e.g. A person who is in the habit of talking big often has to eat crow in the end.一个习惯于夸夸其谈的人到最后还是要收回自己的话。
e.g. Better get with it, you guys. The boss’ll have kittens if he comes back and we’ve not finished.你们这些家伙卖点力气呀。老板回来的时候，如果我们还没有干完，他会发脾气的 。
7、 horse马--talk horse吹牛
e.g. Don’t believe him; he’s just talking horse.别信他，他在吹牛。
e.g. A lazy student, in order to play truant, may play fox, pretending to be ill—to have a stomachache, for example.懒惰学生为了逃学会装假，自称生病，比方说肚子痛。
e.g. The fallen soldier escaped notice by playing possum until the enemy troops had passed by.那个倒下的士兵在敌军开过去之前始终装死，没有被敌军发现。
e.g. I don’t think he is really sick. He’s probably just playing possum.我不认为他真的有病。他可能只是装病而已 。
e.g. Stop playing ostrich and take your head out of the sand. You’ve got to face the facts.不要逃避了，你应该面对现实。
11、peacock孔雀--play the peacock炫耀
e.g. What kinds of people often play the peacock? Vain people do.哪一种人常常炫耀自己？虚荣心强的人就会这样做。
e.g. Paul couldn’t find a date so he’s going stag.保罗找不到女伴，只好只身参加社交晚会了。
e.g. Getting older and older father always see snakes.由于年纪越来越大，父亲常出现幻觉。
e.g. Some sports cars turned turtle in the course of the race yesterday.昨天有几辆跑车在比赛途中翻了车。
e.g. Don’t beat about the bush. Let’s talk turkey. The matter has to be settled.别转弯抹角了，让我们谈正经的吧，事情该马上解决了。
e.g. To cry wolf is to give false alarm. It comes from the fable of the shepherd boy who often called “wolf” to make fun of the neighbors.喊狼来了就是发假警报。它来源于一个牧童的寓言 。他经常喊狼来了，以此捉弄邻居 。
e.g. The general said the candidate was just crying wolf when he said that the army was too weak to fight for the country.当候选人说军队过于弱小不能保卫国家时，将军说那位候选人只不过是在故意吓人。