Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.
On today's program we talk about the word "field." But which one? There are many different kinds of fields.
First, we will talk about fields in which you can work.
A common question when you first meet someone in the States is, "What field do you work in?" or simply "What is your field?" Work fields are usually general. For example, if you are a doctor you would answer that you work in the medical field. A lawyer is in the legal field. And a marketing specialist's field is business.
If you are a farmer, you might work in another kind of field --an area of open land planted with crops. Some farmers work in the fields from sunup to sundown.
Now, another kind of field is also outside but we use this one for sports activities. And this type of field has led to several common expressions.
Fair play is an issue in most sports. No one wants to watch or play a game in which one team has an unfair advantage over another. Everyone wants a level playing field -- but not just in sports.
We use this expression anytime fairness is important. A level playing field is when the conditions of competition are fair or even. Everyone has the same shot at winning.
This expression comes from the fact that for a sports field to be fair, it must be the same for both teams. It would be unfair if one team had to play on a rocky, uneven part of a field while the other team played on smooth ground.
In "level playing field," the word "level" is an adjective. But we can also use it as a verb. So, if you level the playing field, you have done a good thing! You have given everyone equal conditions for success.
Now, let's go back to sports, in particular baseball.
When playing baseball, the infielders and outfielders are the ones who field the balls. They catch the balls hit or thrown in the field and then make the best play they can. So, we can say they are playing in the field.
However, they are not playing the field. That is something completely different!
Playing the field has nothing to do with sports. We use it mostly to talk about dating. Someone who plays the field is romantically involved with more than one person.
The expression comes from horse racing.
The horses in a race are "the field." And in that field of horses there are the favorites-- those considered most likely to win. And there are long shots -- those less likely to win. Long shots are riskier to bet on, but they pay more money if they win. So gamblers often bet on other horses other than the favorite. They would play the field -- or several horses in the race.
Maybe you have heard of this expression before or maybe it came out of left field. "To come out of left field" or simply "out of left field" is another baseball term. It means something is a surprise to you. You were not expecting it at all! Other times it can describe something strange or odd.
Word experts dispute its exact origin. One possibility comes from how a baseball player scores. A runner on third base -- in position to score at home plate -- has his back to left field. As he runs home to score, he cannot see the ball thrown into home base by the left fielder. And then -- surprise! -- he's out at home plate!
I hope you have enjoyed today's show on field expressions. And, believe me, there are others. We could have a field day with the subject!
But, that will have to be another day!
1.in particular 尤其；特别地
Why should he notice her car in particular?
2.less likely 较少可能；可能性不大
Rice flour makes the cake less likely to crumble.
3.come from 来自于；来源于
His views come from his own humble beginnings.
当你第一次在美国遇到某人时，常见的问题是，“你在哪个领域工作？”或者说“你的领域是什么？”工作领域通常很笼统。例如，如果你是一名医生，你可以回答说你在医学领域工作 。律师属于法律领域，营销专家的领域是商业 。
公平竞争在大多数体育运动中都是一个问题。没有人想看或打一场比赛，其中一支球队比另一支球队占有不公平优势 。每个人都希望有一个公平的竞争环境，但不仅是在体育方面 。
当说到公平很重要时，我们就用这种表达。A level playing field（公平竞争的环境）是指竞争条件公平，每个人都有获胜的机会 。
在“level playing field”中，“level”是一个形容词，但我们也可以把它当作动词。所以，如果你level the playing field（创造公平竞争环境），你就做了一件好事！你给了每个人获得成功的平等条件 。
打棒球时，内野手和外野手是投球的人。他们接住球后击打或扔到场地，然后作出最好的发挥 。所以，我们可以说他们是在球场上比赛 。
Playing the field（情场大玩咖）与体育无关，我们主要用它来谈论约会，一个情场大玩咖与不止一个人有浪漫关系。
比赛中的马是“the field”。在比赛中，有最受欢迎的马，也就是那些被认为最有可能获胜的马 。而且还有long shots——那些不太可能获胜的马 。给long shots下注的风险更大，但如果它们赢了，会付更多的钱 。所以赌马的人经常在最喜欢的马以外的其他马上下注 。他们可能只想玩玩——或者在比赛中投注几匹马 。
也许你以前听过这种表达，或者它来自left field（左外场）。“To come out of left field”或只是“out of left field”是另一个棒球术语，它的意思是有些事对你来说是个惊喜，你一点也没想到！有时它可以描述一些奇怪的事情 。
词汇专家对它的确切起源提出了异议。一种可能性来自棒球运动员如何得分 。一名三垒手，可以在本垒板得分的位置，他后面是左外场 。他跑本垒得分时，看不到左外场手将球扔向本垒 。随后出现惊喜！他出局了！