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 1812. 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 1800s. 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 1800s. 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 II, an American publication accused wildcat strikers of slowing government production.
This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written by Jeri Watson.
A new baby lion cub on display at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, S.C.
I'm Warren Scheer.
1.lynx n. 猞猁；山猫
So far her team has mapped out how climate change might alter the habitats of a dozen species, from the Canadian lynx to the California redwood.
2.wildcat n. 野猫；莽撞的人 adj. 不可靠的；鲁莽的 vi. 盲目开掘油井；从事非法商业活动 vt. 盲目钻探
Frustration, anger and desperation have led to a series of wildcat strikes.
3.bobcat n. 山猫之类
Bobcats roam wild in the mountains.
1.During World War II, an American publication accused wildcat strikers of slowing government production.
accuse of 谴责，控告
We accused him of having neglected his duty.
He was accused of corruption.
许多公司利用动物图案以促使我们购买他们的产品。例如，汽车公司，当他们试图卖车时，喜爱展示飞奔的快马的形象 。有时汽车公司也用其他迅猛有力的动物为产品命名 。
当美国人说到野猫时，他们通常指的是一种山猫，豹猫或短尾山猫。这些猫攻击目标时迅速、凶猛 。因此野猫代表着迅速，凶猛的事物 。
野猫还用来指钱，这是十九世纪的用法。那时，有些州允许银行自制钱币 。一家在密歇根州的银行造了其上印有野猫的纸钱 。
然而有些银行没有足够的金子还支撑他们发行的纸币。因此，这些钱便贬值了，被称为野猫账单或野猫银票 。发行这些钱的银行被称为野猫银行 。
在十九世纪，这个词还有别的用法，被用来指几乎不出油或不产金的油井或金矿。不诚实的开发商可能会购买这些矿，然后带着卖矿的钱离开；而留给买家的是地面上的一文不值的洞眼 。今天，野猫油井指那些不知道会出油的地区 。