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[word-lover] 【整理】2008-07-06 Words and Their Stories

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Now, the VOA special English program, words and their stories.

 

Some expressions describe people who are important or who at least think they are. One such expression is bigwig. In the 17th century, important men in Europe began to wear false hair called wigs. As years passed, wigs began to get bigger. The size of a man’s wig depended how important he was. The more important he was or thought he was, the big the wig he wore. Some wigs are so large they covered the man’s shoulders or back. Today, the expression bigwigs is used to make fun of a person who feels important. People never tell someone he is bigwig, they only used the expression behind his back.

 

Big wheel is another way to describe important person, A big wheel maybe the head of company, a political leader, a famous movie star. They are big wheels because they are powerful, what they do affects many people. Big wheels give the orders, other people carry them out. As in many machines, a big wheel makes the little wheels turn. Big wheel began a popular expression after the World War 2; it probably comes from an expression used for many years by people who fix cars and trucks. They said person” rolled a big wheel” if he was important and had influence.

 

The top of something is the highest part. So it is not surprising that top is a part of another expression that describes an important person. The expression is “top banana”. A top banana is a leading person in a comedy show. The funniest comedian is called the top banana. The next is second banana and so on. Why a banana? A comedy acted in earlier days often included a part where one of the comedians hit the others over the head with a soft object. The object was shaped like the yellow fruit banana. Top banana is still used in main show business. Yet the expression can also be used to describe the top person in any area.

 

A kingpin is anther word for an important person. The expression comes from the game of bowling. The kingpin is the NO.1 pin. If hit correctly with the king pin will make other 9 pins fall. And that is the abject of the game. So the most important person in a project or business is the king pin. If the king pin is removed, the business or project is likely to fail. King pin is also used to describe important criminal or the leader in a criminal gang. A newspaper may report for example “ that police had arrested the suspect king pin of a car stealing operation.

 

This VOA Special English program, WORDS AND THEIR STORIES, was written by Marilyn Christiano. I'm Warren Scheer.

[ 本帖最后由 猪头阿不 于 2008-7-17 08:23 编辑 ]
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