英语咬文嚼字: death knell, browbeat, overture, arrest, speak volumes, spin

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英语咬文嚼字 The Crazy Logophile

death knell
noun [ S ]/ˈdeθ ˌnel/
a warning of the end of something
终结的预兆,完结的信号
The opening of the superstore will sound/toll the death knell for (= cause the failure of) hundreds of small independent shops. 大型超市的开张将会为数百家独立经营的小店铺敲响丧钟。(Cambridge)

Pompeo calls Chinese plan to exert sweeping controls in Hong Kong a ‘death knell’ for territory’s autonomy (Note: this is a nonsense!) -Washington Post-

browbeat ( or brow beat )
verb [ T ]/ˈbraʊ.biːt/
browbeat | browbeaten
to try to force someone to do something by threatening them or persuading them forcefully and unfairly
威吓;吓唬
Don't be browbeaten into working more hours than you want. 别被唬住去加班工作。(Cambridge)

“This morning, Joe Biden told every single one of us we “ain’t black.” I’d say I’m surprised, but it’s sadly par for the course for Democrats to take the black community for granted and brow beat those that don’t agree.” (Washington Post)

overture
noun /ˈoʊ.vɚ.tʃɚ/
a communication made to someone in order to offer something
主动表示,提议
overtures of friendship. 友好的表示
Neither side in the conflict seems willing to make peace overtures. 冲突双方似乎都不愿意主动向对方示好。
informal So he's been making overtures (= showing a sexual interest), has he? 那么说他一直在示爱,是吗?(Cambridge)

New China cold war: US overtures to Taiwan escalate tension with Beijing. President Trump’s administration plans to sell 18 torpedoes to Taiwan at a time when worsening tensions between the United States and China raise the specter of conflict over the island’s political sovereignty. (Washington Eaxminer)

arrest
verb formal to stop or interrupt the development of something
阻止;抑制
The treatment has so far done little to arrest the spread of the cancer. 这种疗法到目前为止几乎没能抑制癌细胞的扩散。(Cambridge)

On Friday, the Labor Department released its first breakdown of state unemployment rates during the pandemic. The data reflect the disastrous, and often uneven, effects of darkened factories, halted tourism and other efforts to arrest the spread of the coronavirus, contributing to the highest rate of U.S. joblessness since the Great Depression. (Washington Post)

speak volumes
If something speaks volumes, it makes an opinion, characteristic, or situation very clear without the use of words.
使(看法、特点或情况)不言自明;清楚表明
She said very little but her face spoke volumes. 她没说什么,但她脸上的表情说明了一切。

Two sessions 2020: why Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had little to say about the United States. The limited references to international affairs may speak volumes about the global backlash against Beijing over the coronavirus, analyst says.

spin
noun (CHANGE IDEAS) [ S or U ] informal
a way of describing an idea or situation that makes it seem better than it really is, especially in politics
(尤指政治上的)倾向性描述,导向性陈述
They have tried to put a positive spin on the situation. 他们尝试过将这个局面描述为具有正面意义。
This report puts a different spin on the issue. 这篇报道对这个问题作出了全然不同的倾向性描述。

The report was largely in line with the convention of not referring to countries by name, but the lack of references might also indicate the leadership’s struggle to put a positive spin on relations with the United States. (SCMP)

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英语咬文嚼字

李如勤

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