Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.
Some of the most exciting information comes by way of the grapevine.
That is so because reports received through the grapevine are supposed to be secret. The information is all hush hush. It is whispered into your ear with the understanding that you will not pass it on to others.
You feel honored and excited. You are one of the special few to get this information. You cannot wait. You must quickly find other ears to pour the information into. And so, the information - secret as it is – begins to spread. Nobody knows how far.
The expression by the grapevine is more than 100 years old.
The American inventor, Samuel F. Morse, is largely responsible for the birth of the expression. Among others, he experimented with the idea of telegraphy – sending messages over a wire by electricity. When Morse finally completed his telegraphic instrument, he went before Congress to show that it worked. He sent a message over a wire from Washington to Baltimore. The message was: "What hath God wrought?" This was on May 24th, 1844.
Quickly, companies began to build telegraph lines from one place to another. Men everywhere seemed to be putting up poles with strings of wire for carrying telegraphic messages. The workmanship was poor. And the wires were not put up straight.
Some of the results looked strange. People said they looked like a grapevine. A large number of the telegraph lines were going in all directions, as crooked as the vines that grapes grow on. So was born the expression, by the grapevine.
Some writers believe that the phrase would soon have disappeared were it not for the American Civil War.
Soon after the war began in 1861, military commanders started to send battlefield reports by telegraph. People began hearing the phrase by the grapevine to describe false as well as true reports from the battlefield. It was like a game. Was it true? Who says so?
Now, as in those far-off Civil War days, getting information by the grapevine remains something of a game. A friend brings you a bit of strange news. "No," you say, "it just can't be true! Who told you?" Comes the answer, "I got it by the grapevine."
You really cannot know how much – if any – of the information that comes to you by the grapevine is true or false. Still, in the words of an old American saying, the person who keeps pulling the grapevine shakes down at least a few grapes.
You have been listening to the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories. I'm Christopher Cruise.
1.grapevine n. 葡萄树；葡萄藤；小道消息；秘密情报网
I had heard through the grapevine that he was quite critical of what we were doing.
2.hush hush [口语]机密，保密；机密的，秘而不宣的
Their wedding was very hush-hush.
3.telegraphic adj. 电信的；电报的；电报机的
You will need to arrange a telegraphic transfer from your bank to ours.
4. battlefield n. 战场；沙场
The commander countermanded the reinforcements to the battlefield.
1.That is so because reports received through the grapevine are supposed to be secret.
supposed to be 本应如此，应该，猜想会
You were supposed to be here an hour ago.
The pilots were supposed to drop supplies to the snowbound villages, but the local government was poor and they pranged up the whole operation.
by the grapevine(小道消息)这个表达有100多年的历史了。
这个表达在很大程度上要归功于美国发明家萨慕尔·摩斯，他做了电报等试验，也就是通过电缆传播信息。当摩尔最终完成电报机的发明时，他来到国会介绍其使用方法 。他通过电缆从华盛顿向巴尔的摩发了一条信息，内容是：“上帝创造了什么东西？”当时是1844年5月24日 。
结果有点奇怪，人们说电线杆看起来像葡萄架，很多电报线横七竖八，看起来像是到处蔓生的葡萄架，于是就出现这个表达by the grapevine。有的作家认为，如果不发生美国内战，这个表达原本会很快消失 。
很快在1861年战争开始后，军队指挥官开始通过电报发动战场报告，人们开始听到用by the grapevine来表达来自战场的或真或假的报告。这有点像游戏？是真的吗？是谁这么说的？