英语咬文嚼字: soft-pedal, Leave sb high and dry, catapult, spice sth up, atoll

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英语咬文嚼字 The Crazy Logophile

soft-pedal
verb [ I or T ]/ˌsɑːftˈped.əl/ -ll- or US usually -l-
to make something seem less important or less bad than it really is
(对…)采取低调态度;降低(…的)重要性;淡化
This is a sensitive issue - I think we'd better soft-pedal it for the moment. 这是个相当敏感的问题——我认为目前我们最好低调处理。(Cambridge)

At the same time, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo surprised on Thursday his European partners by accepting their proposal, which he had seemed cool on earlier, to launch a new U.S.-EU dialogue on China. Josep Borrell, the EU’s de facto foreign minister, raised the idea earlier in the week but soft-pedaled it when it initially seemed the U.S. lacked interest. (CNBC)

Leave sb high and dry
informal
to do something that is not at all convenient for someone and puts them in a very difficult situation
给(某人)带来麻烦,使(某人)陷入困境
They pulled out of the deal at the last minute leaving us high and dry. 他们在最后一刻退出了交易,使我们陷入困境。(Cambridge)

Restrictions leave US travelers high and dry. US citizens have been shut out of their neighboring country to the north and a slew of nations around the world. The latest travel news affecting Americans: The European Union is considering blocking travelers from areas with severe Covid-19 outbreaks after it opens it borders on July 1.

catapult
verb [ T usually + adv/prep ]/ˈkæt̬.ə.pʌlt/
1)transitive verb
: to throw or launch by or as if by a catapult
弹射出去;一跃而成
2)intransitive verb
to become catapulted he catapulted to fame
射向;弹向;一跃成为

Fast food catapults to the future.The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated trends in the fast food, giving franchises that stayed open a new leg up over their dine-in competition. (Axios)

spice sth up
— phrasal verb with spice verb [ T ]
to add excitement or interest to a speech, story, or performance
给......增添趣味; 增加......

Social distancing spices up demand for meal kits. A surge in food deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic has reinvigorated the at-home meal kit industry. (Axios )

Controversy over when President Trump will “reopen the country” is nothing more than another ploy to spice up his tiresome reality-show drama. Trump won’t determine when it’s safe again for us to mingle again at work and play. We will. (washingtonpost)

atoll
noun [ C ]/ˈæt.ɑːl/
a ring-shaped island formed of coral (= rock-like natural substance) that surrounds a lagoon (= area of sea water)
环状珊瑚岛,环礁 (Cambridge)

In 2009, George W Bush created the Pacific Remote Islands national monument around seven islands and atolls in the central Pacific. The monument, subsequently expanded by Barack Obama to become what was the largest marine protected area in the world, comprises “the last refugia for fish and wildlife species rapidly vanishing from the remainder of the planet”, according to the Fish & Wildlife Service, boasting creatures such as sea turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks and giant clams. (theguardian)

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