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[word-lover] 【整理】2008-05-08 :BBC:Keep Your English Up-to-Date

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[word-lover] 【整理】2008-05-08 :BBC:Keep Your English Up-to-Date



wordlover-2008-05-08




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Clueless

 

I'm clueless. He's clueless. She's clueless. Um…I mean, it's literally a clue less, that is, a clue in the sense of a piece of information or evidence used by police in solving a crime, that's where the word started years ago. And then it became a rather more general meaning any facts about solving a problem - in phrases like, you know, “clues about the past”, “have we got any clues about the past?” - in archaeology exploration, for example. And then earlier, there was a usage in idiom, you know, “I haven't got a clue” - I've got no idea, I can't think what's happening. So it has this kind of informal sense, the word “clue” goes back quite a long time, meaning having no knowledge or understanding or ability.

It's a much milder word, clueless, than stupid. Um…Stupid is quite strong, isn’t it? “You're stupid” is stronger than “you're clueless!” Clueless is more - you're absent minded, you're scatty, you could probably do it if you kept your mind on it - it's that kind of usage, isn't it? A much milder concept.

Usage spread when it became the name of a 1995 film, loosely based on Jane Austen's “Emma” - it was called “Clueless”. It's often intensified too – “I'm totally clueless!” I heard somebody say the other day “I'm totally clueless when it comes to grammar”. Well, I'm not totally clueless when it comes to grammar, but I have to say, I am totally clueless when it comes to cooking. I can do toast, and that's about it!



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[ 本帖最后由 jessiyear 于 2008-5-20 21:19 编辑 ]

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