Now, the VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories.
Cats are the most popular pets among Americans. So it is not surprising that there are many expressions about cats.
Some cats like to catch small birds, like canaries. If someone looks very proud or satisfied with himself, we say he "looks like the cat that ate the canary."
Sometimes, a cat likes to play with a small animal it catches. So if you "play cat and mouse" with someone, you change between different kinds of behavior when dealing with another person. For example, a child might offer something sweet to her little brother and then take it away when he reaches for it.
A cat will often catch a small animal and present it to its owner. The saying that "looks like something the cat dragged in" describes something in bad condition.
Two old and funny expressions describe something that is the best or finest. Americans might say that something is "the cat's meow" and "the cat's pajamas."
Children might call a child who is easily frightened a "fraidy-cat" or a "scaredy-cat."
A "copycat" is someone who acts just like someone else or copies another person's work.
A "fat cat" is a person with a lot of money.
You may have known that cats spend most of their time sleeping. Sometimes people sleep for a short time during the day. This is called a "cat nap."
If you tell about something that was supposed to be a secret, we say you "let the cat out of the bag." If you are not able to speak or answer a question someone might ask if "the cat has got your tongue."
Have you ever watched children in a classroom when their teacher leaves for a few minutes? "When the cat's away, the mice will play" means people sometimes misbehave when there is no supervision.
You may have heard this expression: "curiosity killed the cat." This means being too concerned about things that are not your business might cause problems.
If your home is very small, you might say "there is not enough room to swing a cat." But you probably should not try this at home!
If you ever had cats as pets, you know it is difficult to train them or to get them to do something. Cats are not like sheep or cows that can be moved in a group. So we say a difficult or impossible job "is like herding cats."
We leave you with a song from the musical play, "Cats."
This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written by Shelley Gollust. I'm Faith Lapidus.
1.canaries n. [鸟] 金丝雀（canary的复数）；特高频噪声
There're three beautiful canaries on the tree.
2.pajama n. 睡衣；宽长裤
Go upstairs and get into your pajamas.
3.fat cat 有钱有势的人；谋求特权
It'seems like you're living like a real fat cat these days.
4.misbehave vi. 作弊；行为不礼貌 vt. 使举止失礼；使行为不端
When the children misbehaved she was unable to cope.
5.herd vi. 成群，聚在一起 vt. 放牧；使成群
Stefano used a motorcycle to herd the sheep.
1.If you tell about something that was supposed to be a secret, we say you "let the cat out of the bag."
supposed to be 本应如此
Journalists are supposed to be politically neutral.
I was supposed to be writing a letter but I'm afraid I got sidetracked .
2.If you tell about something that was supposed to be a secret, we say you "let the cat out of the bag."
let the cat out of the bag 泄露秘密
We tried to keep the party a surprise for my mother but my sister let the cat out of the bag.
You must be close - mouthed and never let the cat out of the bag.
有的猫喜欢抓小鸟，比如金丝雀。如果有人看起来很骄傲，或对自己很满意，我们就可以说他looks like the cat that ate the canary(感觉自我良好) 。
有时猫喜欢和抓到的小动物玩耍。所以如果你play cat and mouse(欲擒故纵，忽冷忽热)地对待某人，你就是在以不同的态度对待这个人 。比如，小孩会给她的小弟弟一些甜食，然后在他拿到后夺回去 。
猫经常会在抓到小动物后交给主人，looks like something the cat dragged in是描述一些很糟糕的状况。
有两个古老而有趣的表达都描述一些最好的东西，美国人会说某东西是the cat's meow(好极了)或the cat's pajamas(棒极了)。
如果你告诉别人一些本应保密的事，你就是在let the cat out of the bag(泄露秘密)。如果你the cat has got your tongue(不知道说什么好)，那你就不知道怎么讲话或回答别人的问题 。
你见过老师离开教室几分钟后孩子们的状况吗？When the cat's away, the mice will play(猫儿不在家，老鼠就玩耍)，意思是人们会在无人监督的情况下胡作非为。
你可能听说过这个表达curiosity killed the cat(好奇害死猫)，意思是过于担心不该自己管的事会出问题的。
如果你家很小，你可能会说there is not enough room to swing a cat(连转身的余地都没有)。但你可能不会在家里让猫旋转(swing)的 。
如果你养过宠物猫，你就知道很难调教它们，或让它们做些什么。猫不像羊或牛可以成群活动，所以我们会说困难的工作is like herding cats(像赶一群猫那样难 。)
这里是美国之音慢速英语词汇典故，作者Shelley Gollust，我是Faith Lapidus。