What does that mean? 你真的瞭解這個慣用語嗎?

Imagery buries itself in language and takes on new meaning. The transplanted and transformed sets of words are called “figures of speech.” For a figure of speech to be effective, however, a writer must first understand the original meaning of the phrase. The following sentence contains a common figure of speech. Its original meaning is explained.

“Unclean fossil fuels are popular, even though they deplete or harm natural resources, yet wind power also has the horses to keep lights on through the night—and is clean.”

The idiomatic expression “has the horses” alludes to the power of a horse. The animal has long been recognized for its endurance in running, its strength in pulling, and its heavily muscled physique. An early calibration of a horse’s power eventually evolved into measurement of machined engine output of all kinds, with output being referred to in terms of “horsepower.”
這次介紹的慣用語「has the horses」暗指馬的力量。人們早就知道,馬有長時間奔跑的耐力、拖車的力氣,還有肌肉結實的體型,因此早期人們以一匹馬的力量作為標準,後來更演變成所有機器引擎力量輸出的單位,亦即所謂的「馬力」。

As used in a paper about alternative wind power, “has the horses” is a shorthand expression of sufficiency, in this case, power sufficiency. The allusion to horses and horsepower is intended to dispel the notion that wind turbines are not powerful enough to substitute for fossil-fueled power plants. While a more straightforward word choice might have been preferable (“wind power can generate enough electricity”), the idiomatic expression enlivens the sentence.

Posted at 2012-09-14 11:10:17

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