1. Have kittens

1. 极度的紧张或不安

Sweet, cuddly, cute: what’s not to love about kittens, the most watched animals on the Internet? But giving birth to them might be a different experience altogether. Apparently, back in medieval times, a woman who suffered pains during pregnancy would often be advised by the local witch that she was, to her misfortune, carrying kittens, and that the only remedy was a magic potion to destroy the unhappy litter.


‘Have you got that report ready yet? The boss is having kittens!’


‘We’re so late – my mum’ll be having kittens.’


2. All dressed up like a dog’s dinner 

2. 穿着特别或招摇的衣服

The Brits love their dogs – they’re the most popular pet in the UK. Dogs’ dinners, however, are not usually very appealing at all – in fact, the expression a dog’s dinner on its own also means a mess.

英国人爱狗,狗是英国最受欢迎的动物。但事实上,狗的晚餐却并不吸引人,a dog’s dinner (狗的晚餐)这样的表达本身的含义确实是负面的。

‘Where are you off to then, all dressed up like a dog’s dinner?’


 3. A cold fish

3. 冷漠的人

Dictionary definition: a + adjective + fish: a person who is strange in a specified way.Although in theory any adjective can be put before fish, cold is by far the most common one.


If you’re a cold fish, you’re unemotional, and perhaps even unfriendly. To sound even more British, add a bit of:

如果你被叫做“cold fish”,你是有较少感情波动的、甚至是不友好的。为了听起来更英式化,也会在之前添加“a bit of”

‘I tried talking to Rachel at the party, but she’s a bit of a cold fish.’


‘What did you think of him?’ – ‘Bit of a cold fish, wasn’t he?’


4. Like a bear with a sore head

4. 形容人易怒

Brown bears have been extinct in Britain for over a thousand years, but, like wolves, they have left their mark in our fairy tales: it seems wise to stay well away from one of the most dangerous animals in the world.


If you’re a like a bear with a sore head, you’re in a very bad mood. Interestingly, this phrase is more often used to describe men than women.

如果你是“like a bear with a sore head”,代表你心情很糟糕。有趣的是,这个短语更多地用来形容男性而不是女性。

‘I don’t know what’s up with Mike – he’s like a bear with a sore head today!’


‘He’s like a bear with a sore head if he doesn’t get his cup of tea in the morning.’


5. Not give a monkey’s 

5. 冷漠或不关心

Monkeys are often associated with mischief and defiance in English: maybe your little brother is monkeying around, or your friend’s a bit of a cheeky monkey. This euphemism – there’s some debate over what the original missing word was (a monkey’s what?) – captures both those characteristics.

Monkey(猴子)在英语中经常和恶作剧以及蔑视相关:也许你的小弟弟正在胡闹,也许你的朋友有点厚颜无耻。这种委婉语都是抓住了这些特征。对于原始词汇a monkey’s 后面究竟是什么词汇也存在一些争论。

‘I don’t give a monkey’s what he thinks – I’m not doing it.’


6. Like a rat up a drainpipe

6. 形容快速且急切

If you move like a rat up a drainpipe, you move extremely fast.

如果你的行动like a rat up a drainpipe,表示你移动速度很快。

Pity the poor rat – a shrewd but shunned animal in Britain, where it’s often said that ‘you’re never more than six foot away from’ one. Rats are known to be able to squeeze through the tiniest of openings and are often found in sewers, so this expression is, as the Brits would say, spot on.


‘Where did Steve go?’ – ‘I don’t know – he just took off like a rat up a drainpipe.’

7. 很早起床

7. Be up with the lark


The lark has a special place in British wildlife – its silvery song inspired the piece that, according one recent poll, has become the country’s favourite piece of classical music. We have long associated the lark with daybreak, even before Shakespeare wrote the lark, the herald of the morn: a person who gets up early is known as a lark, as opposed to an owl who prefers to stay up late.


‘We were up with the lark this morning because we had a plane to catch.’


‘On Christmas Day, my sister and I would always be up with the lark.’

8.  事物中最大的一部分

8. The lion’s share 


The lion has been a symbol of England for more than nine hundred years, and traditionally represents bravery and strength. We see the shadow side of these qualities, however, in Aesop’s fable of this name, which tells the story of a lion, a fox, a jackal, and a wolf who go out hunting together. After dividing their prey into four equal parts, the lion claims all the spoils for himself.

但今天使用的英式表达中含义有轻微的不同:如果你“get the lion’s share of something”,表示你获得了某事物的绝大部分(而不是所有)。

The British expression used today has a slightly different meaning: if you get the lion’s share of something, you get most of it (rather than all of it).


‘Well, I think you got the lion’s share of the cake there, Pete!’


‘She’ll get the lion’s share of the payout – the rest of the money will go to charity.’