Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.
Monkeys are very similar to us in many ways -- most have ten fingers and ten toes, and brains much like ours. We enjoy watching them because they often act like us. In fact, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution says that monkeys and humans share a common ancestor.
Songwriter William Gilbert, in the musical "Princess Ida," wrote:
"Darwinian man, though well-behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved."
His words -- sung to Sir Arthur Sullivan’s music -- make listeners smile. Well, monkeys make us smile, too, because they are creatures full of playful tricks.
This is why many monkey expressions are about tricky people or playful acts. One of these expressions is "monkeyshines," meaning "tricks or foolish acts." The meaning is clear if you have ever watched a group of monkeys playfully chasing each other -- pulling tails, stealing food, doing tricks. So, when a teacher says to a group of students "Stop those monkeyshines right now!," you know that the boys and girls are playing instead of studying.
You might hear that same teacher warn a student not to "monkey around" with a valuable piece of equipment. You "monkey around" with something when you do not know what you are doing. You are touching or playing with something you should leave alone.
Also, you can "monkey around" when you feel like doing something, but have no firm idea of what to do. For example, you tell your friend you are going to spend the day "monkeying around" with your car. Well, you do not have any job or goal in mind -- it is just a way to pass the time.
"Monkey business" usually means secret -- maybe illegal -- activities. A news report may say there is "monkey business" involved in building the new airport, with some officials getting secret payments from builders.
You may "make a monkey out of" someone when you make that person look foolish. Some people "make a monkey out of" themselves by acting foolish or silly.
If one monkey has fun, imagine how much fun "a barrel of monkeys" can have! If your friend says he had "more fun than a barrel of monkeys" at your party, you know that he had a really good time.
"Monkey suits" are common names for clothes or uniforms soldiers wear.
In earlier years in many American cities, you would find men playing musical hand organs on the street. Dancing to the music would be the man’s small monkey dressed in a tight-fitting, colorful jacket similar to a military uniform. So, people began to call a military uniform a "monkey suit."
This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written by Marilyn Rice Christiano. Maurice Joyce was the narrator. I’m Shirley Griffith.
1.toe n. 脚趾；足尖
By standing on tip-toe, I managed to reach the button.
2.well-behaved adj. 很乖的；行为端正的；彬彬有礼的
He is an obedient and well - behaved child.
3.playfully adv. 开玩笑地；好游玩地
She tweaked his ear playfully.
4.tight-fitting adj. 紧身的
These trousers are tight - fitting, Do you have anything a bit larger?
1.You might hear that same teacher warn a student not to "monkey around" with a valuable piece of equipment.
monkey around 鬼混，胡闹
Don't monkey around here, boys!
It is dangerous to monkey around in the workshop.
2.Some people "make a monkey out of" themselves by acting foolish or silly.
make a monkey out of 捉弄；戏弄
How dare they try to make a monkey out of me?
He had mocked the laws and made a monkey out of the lawmen.
猴子在很多方面和人类相似，都有十个手指和脚趾，猴子的大脑也很像人类。我们喜欢观看猴子，是因为它们的举止通常和我们类似 。事实上，查理·达尔文的进化论称猴子和人类有着共同祖先 。
这就是为什么有很多与猴子相关的成语，表示狡猾的人或搞笑的行为。其中一个表达是monkeyshines，意思是“恶作剧或愚蠢的行为 。如果你观看过一群猴子互相嬉戏、扯尾巴、偷食物、耍花招，那么就很清楚这个词的意思 。所以，当老师跟一群学生说“Stop those monkeyshines right now!”你就会知道孩子们在玩而不是学习 。
你可能听到同一位老师警告学生不要在昂贵的设备上瞎折腾，当你不知道自己在干嘛时，你就是在monkey around。当你应该出门的时候你在玩弄别的东西 。
当你觉得想做某事，但又没有坚定的信念时，你就是在monkey around。比如，你告诉朋友你准备花一天摆弄你的汽车，而你脑子里根本没有什么目标，而只是在打发时间 。
Monkey business通常是指神秘的、或许非法的活动。新闻报告称新机场的建设中存在monkey business，因为有官员从开发商那里获得非法报酬 。
你可能会make a monkey out of(戏弄)了某人，让别人看起来很傻。有的人做些可笑的傻事把自己给愚弄了 。
如果一只猴子很有趣，那么想象下一群猴子会怎样！如果你朋友说他在聚会上more fun than a barrel of monkeys，那么你就知道他玩得很开心。
早些年在美国很多城市，你会看到有人在街上演奏手风琴，有只身穿类似军装的紧身迷彩衣的小猴子随着音乐舞蹈。所以，人们开始称军装为Monkey suits 。
这就是美国之音慢速英语词汇典故，作者Marilyn Rice Christiano，叙述者Maurice Joyce，我是Shirley Griffith。