move the needle




Now it’s official. Starting next November, menus in many places where Americans eat — like chain restaurants and some movie theaters, convenience stores and amusement parks — will have to list calories.

Consumer health advocates were jubilant when the Food and Drug Administration announced the new policy on Tuesday. Many had fought for the rule for more than a decade, believing it would be a major weapon in the fight against obesity.

But will it?

The evidence on whether menu labeling works — either to move the national needle on obesity, or to reduce the number of calories an individual consumes after looking at a menu — is pretty skimpy, in part because the practice hasn’t been around that long.
(Calories on Menus: Nationwide Experiment Into Human Behavior. New York Times. November 26, 2014.)


move the national needle on obesity


"needle"を辞書で引きましたがそれらしき説明がありません。恐らく、"move the needle"というフレーズになると思われますが、ランダムハウスにもMerriam-Websterにも見当たらないのです。



The producers of the network late-night entertainment shows have also detected for some time that, as one executive producer put it, " The number of stars who will move the needle of the ratings has dwindled drastically.
(New York Times, 1999.)

They say repairing Exxon's image problem will only get tougher as time passes. Some marketers suggest a feel-good ad campaign, similar to Dow's. Others stress, however, that with the wounds this fresh, image-building ads might backfire unless they're backed up by some convincing corporate action. Even then, it will take a lot of time. Says Joseph Smith: "You can move the needle of public sentiment only a little at a time. You can't go from zero to 60 in two ads."
(USA Today, 1990.)

いずれの用例も、"move the needle of..."というパターンで、of以下が"needle"を説明している形になっています。




変化には、(人々の)意識とか世間一般の評価とか、色々なものがある訳ですが、"move the needle"はそれらを変化させることができたか否かを問う際のお決まりのフレーズのように思われます。



アメリカではThanksgiving holidaysを控えているということで、ショッピングに関する話題が俄かに多くなっています。


例えば、下記の引用にも出てくるBlack FridayやCyber Mondayは過去にも取り上げた表現です。

今日取り上げる単語は、"chip and pin"というものですが、ご存知でしょうか?

Shoppers descend on malls and Best Buys on Black Friday each year, hungry for outrageous markdowns and incredible deals. But beware. This is the last holiday shopping season before Americans will switch over to the chip-and-pin technology popular in Europe, ditching the old magnetic strip credit and debit cards.

Until then, the majority of American retailers will continue to use the magnetic strip system at their registers, leaving them susceptible to data breaches. Hackers can siphon credit card data from those systems and sell it on the black market.
(5 tips for safe shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Los Angeles Times. November 27, 2014.)


上記の引用において、"chip-and-pin"は、"the old magnetic strip (credit and debit cards)"と対比されています。


"pin"とは"Personal Identification Number"の略ですが、クレジットカードを用いた決済を行う際に入力する暗証番号のことです。"chip"はカードに埋め込まれているICチップを指し、これによりカード所持者によるPIN入力との照合ができるわけです。

ちなみに、"chip and signature"という表現も存在するらしく、こちらはICチップ埋め込みのカードにも関わらず、自筆署名をして本人確認するやり方の支払いを指しています。


potty mouth

"potty mouth"という表現に出くわしました。形容詞形と思われる、"potty-mouthed"が使われているのですが、どういう意味でしょうか?

He's gonna wash their mouths out with soap!

The NYPD's new deputy commissioner is on a crusade to stop potty-mouthed cops — vowing on Tuesday to keep them from cursing while on duty.

"It's all about a New York attitude, New Yorkers like to curse... but you can change. And when we teach them... They will see that they are doing it for effect and they don't have to do it anymore," Michael Julian said after being sworn in at police headquarters.

He added, "We think we can change their behavior."

His G-rated mission is tied to civilian complaints — which are often targeted at cops who cuss, Julian said.
(NYPD cracking down on cursing cops. New York Post. November 25, 2014.)

引用した記事はニューヨーク市警(New York Police Department)に関するものです。文脈から分かりますが、"potty-mouthed"とは言葉遣いが下品な、という意味だと分かります。


given to the use of vulgar language (Merriam-Webster)


ところで、"potty"の意味が気になります。"pot"は、ポット、壺、のことですが、ここでは小便器の意味合いが強いと思われます。ちなみに、幼児にトイレをしつけるときのいわゆる“おまる”のことも"pot"、あるいは"potty seat"と言うのですが、口汚い人のまさに口の部分を便器に喩えた表現と言えるでしょう。


2014年新語大賞候補(5) ― contactless






After a breakout 12 months for tap and pay, 'contactless' has made Oxford Dictionaries' shortlist for international word of the year.

Contactless was one of seven words - along with bae, budtender, indyref, normcore and slacktivism - to make the list but ultimately lost out on the top spot to vape, which refers to electronic cigarettes. The last time a fintech-specific term made its way onto the Oxford shortlist was back in 2008, when credit crunch walked away with the word of the year award.

Earlier this week Worldpay reported a 150% rise in UK contactless payments volumes over the past six months, suggesting that the technology has now shaken off its novelty tag and is surging towards the mainstream.
(Contactless makes Oxford Dictionaries word of the year shortlist. Finextra. November 25, 2014.)

さて、先週後半より、オックスフォード辞書による2014年Word of the Yearの候補となった単語を取り上げてきました。1語この特集で取り上げなかった単語があります。




2014年新語大賞候補(4) ― normcore



Normcore (noun): A trend in which ordinary, unfashionable clothing is worn as a deliberate fashion statement.
(Mirror Online. November 18, 2014.)



The space, located in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, doesn't celebrate the company's brand, nor is its layout inspired by a popular theory of workplace productivity. Instead, the company wanted a low-key, versatile office that could be transformed as needs and trends change. "If the new [office design] standard is to create a physical experience that reinforces the brand attributes the company has successfully established in the digital environment, then Red Bull is the antithesis of this strategy," says the designer, Jeffrey Inaba. "It's not exactly the architectural equivalent of normcore, but it's a similar response.” (Normcore, in Thomas Frank's words, is "the trend among the privileged toward anti-fashion clothes of the kind available at Wal-Mart.")
(Belinda Lanks. Red Bull's New York HQ Is Office Normcore. Business Week. November 18, 2014.)

上記の引用で、"the company"というのは日本でもお馴染みのエナジードリンクを製造販売しているRed Bullという会社なのですが、同社のニューヨークオフィスは、会社のロゴを誇らしげに掲げるでもなく、“極めて普通”のオフィスなのだそうです。



2014年新語大賞候補(3) ― budtender






Budtender (noun): A person whose job is to serve customers in a cannabis dispensary or shop. This word has come to the fore following moves to legalise the drug for medical use in some US states. It combines bud - slang for marijuana - and tender - as in bartender.
(Hayden Smith. Vaping with your bae and other new words added to the dictionary. Mirror Online. November 18, 2014.)




2014年新語大賞候補(2) ― indyref

昨日よりオックスフォード英語辞書による2014年のWord of the Yearにノミネートされた単語を特集してお送りしております。




Poll: 66% of Scots want another indyref in the next 10 years

Two-thirds of Scots want another independence referendum to be held in the next 10 years while more than half think a vote on the country's future should take place within just five years, a new poll has revealed.
(The Herald Scotland. October 31, 2014.)


independence referendum



2014年新語大賞候補(1) ― bae

さて、閑話休題でも予告しましたが、今日から4日間、Oxford English Dictionaryの2014年新語大賞(Word of the Year)にノミネートされた単語を取り上げたいと思います。


On Wednesday, Pharrell dropped a video for his new single, "Come Get It Bae," which may immediately raise some questions, such as "Come get what?" and "What in the world does bae mean, anyway?"

The short answer: Though this word was used in the 1500s to refer to sheep sounds, today bae is used as a term of endearment, often referring to your boyfriend or girlfriend. Or perhaps a prospect who might one day hold such a lofty position. Bae has also taken on a wider meaning, being used to label something as generally good or cool, as in "This sandwich is bae."
(Katy Steinmetz. This is What ‘Bae’ Means. Time. July 23, 2014.)

"bae"という単語自体は羊の鳴き声(sheep sounds)を表すものとして1500年代からあるそうですが、現代的な意味はボーイフレンド、もしくはガールフレンドを指すものとして使われるようになったようです。また、一般に良いもの、かっこいいもの、を単に指すのにも使われるとか。


一方、"bae"は"Before Anyone Else"を略したものだとも言われているそうです。これはつまり、“何にもまして”というような意味でしょうか?(この説はあまり受け入れられてはいないようです。)

閑話休題 ― OEDが2014年の新語大賞に"vape"を決定


昨日のニュースですが、英語辞書の総本山とも言える、Oxford English Dictionaryが2014年のWord of the Year(新語大賞!?)に"vape"を選出したと発表しました。


Oxford Dictionaries has named "vape" the Word of the Year for 2014.

According to the wordsmiths, the verb means to "inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device."

Vape can also be used as a noun to describe the electronic cigarette itself.

This year, use of the word "vape" has more than doubled compared to 2013, according to Oxford Dictionaries.
(Lauren Boyer. Oxford Dictionaries Names 'Vape' 2014 Word of the Year. US News & World Report. November 18, 2014.)


Word of the Year選出のプロセスについてあまり詳しくは知りませんが、"vape"以外に候補となっていた単語についても記事で取り上げられており、そのいくつかは当ブログでも取り上げたことがある単語が含まれています。



血液サラサラ ― thinner




Heart attack and stroke patients can safely take aspirin combined with a blood-thinning medication, new research confirms.

The blood-thinning combination won't increase a patient's risk of early death, according to a new study presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago. The report was also published online Nov. 16 in The Lancet.
(Dennis Thompson. Long-Term Use of Aspirin Plus Blood Thinner Is Safe: Study. HealthDay. November 17, 2014.)

"blood-thinning medication"というのがその答えですが、"blood thinner"と言ったりもします。



専門的な医学用語としては、anticoagulant(抗凝固薬)と言いますが、現場では"blood thinner"がもっぱら使われるようです。


有名ミュージシャンがスターバックス不買を呼びかけ ― GMO


Musician Neil Young boycotts Starbucks over the coffee chain’s alleged involvement in a lawsuit against Vermont regarding the labeling of genetically modified ingredients, and he is asking his fans to follow suit.

In his website post titled “GOODBYE STARBUCKS!!!”, the legendary rocker wrote last week that Starbucks has teamed up with multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto to sue Vermont over food labeling.
(Musician Neil Young Boycotts Starbucks Over GMO Lawsuit. Beta Wired. November 16, 2014.)



GMOとは、Genetically Modified Organismの頭文字を取った省略語で、いわゆる遺伝子組み換え作物のことです。

記事中、"genetically modified ingredients"と出てきますので、それならばGMIじゃないか、ともなる訳ですが、一般にはGMOで通っています。記事のタイトル部分にも使われていることから分かるように、GMOと言えば分かるのでしょう。

ちなみに、GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms)とは正式には、「遺伝子組み換え生物」であり、作物も含めた広い範囲の概念です。






Last month, addressing reporters in his home country, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abott promised to "shirtfront" Russian President Vladimir Putin during this month's G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia. Mr. Abbott was speaking about the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine earlier this year, which ws shot down, almost certainly by Russian-backed and -armed rebels in eastern Ukraine, using a Russian surface-to-air missile. Twenty seven of those lost in the incident were Australian, and the plane itself was heading to Melbourne.
(Matt Gurney. Russia sends warships to 'shirtfront' Australia. National Post. November 12, 2014.)




"Shirtfront" is an Australian sports term meaning a violent confrontation. Translated into Canadian, it would be akin to boasting that you were going to "drop the gloves."



"drop the gloves"ともありますが、"throw down the gauntlet"と同じで、ケンカをする時の作法でしょうか。





Global Banks Settle Charges of Foreign Exchange Rigging

It may have been the biggest ever fine meted out by British regulators, but, in the end, the banks accused of foreign exchange market hijinks may have got off lightly.

The UK Financial Conduct Authority on Wednesday announced that five global institutions are to pay a combined $3.4 billion to settle allegations of rigging the foreign exchange market. For most of the offenders, the penalty falls short of provisions already set aside in connection with probe.
(Forbes. November 12, 2014.)

"rigging"、"rig"とは、株価などの不正操作を意味します。私利私欲のために不正を働く(To manipulate dishonestly for personal gain; American Heritage Dictionaryの定義より)というのであれば、株価に限りません。上記の引用のケースでは外国為替相場の不正操作のケースです。




Online Etymology Dictionaryによりますと、不正操作の意味の"rig"はこれとは違う由来のスラングとされていますが、ランダムハウス英和辞書では同じ単語になっているのがよく分からないところであります。




アメリカ発、マヨネーズ戦争!? ― mayonnaise


さて、サンドイッチに欠かせない材料の1つと言えば、“マヨネーズ”ではないでしょうか。そのマヨネーズを巡って、アメリカで老舗 vs 新興メーカーの戦いが始まったようです。

WASHINGTON -- A big-money war is brewing over the meaning of America's best-selling condiment: mayonnaise.

The maker of Hellmann's mayo, food giant Unilever, has sued the San Francisco startup behind Just Mayo, an egg-free, mayonnaiselike sandwich spread giving Big Mayo a run for its money.

The global food giant argues that Hampton Creek's Just Mayo is not, as Unilever lawyers wrote, "exactly, precisely, only and simply mayonnaise," as defined by the dictionary and the Food and Drug Administration, which says mayo must include "egg yolk-containing ingredients."
(Drew Harwell. 'M-word' debate spreads as Big Food goes to court on meaning of 'mayo.' Buffalo News. November 11, 2014.)

老舗ブランドというのはHellmann(製造はUnilever)のBig Mayo、新興ブランドはHampton CreekというメーカーのJust Mayo、です。


新興のJust Mayoは、卵黄を使っていない、というのが売りなのだそうですが、これに対し老舗のUnileverが卵黄が入っていないようなものはマヨネーズとは呼べない、と異議を唱えているというのが対立の構図です。

Unileverは、Just Mayoが同製品をマヨネーズと称するのは虚偽記載(!?)に相当するとして、製品の回収と、Unilever社の損失を補填すべきと訴えを起こしているそうです。

たしかに、"mayonnaise"を辞書で引くと、その定義には卵黄(egg yolk)の文字が見えます。

a dressing made chiefly of egg yolks, vegetable oils, and vinegar or lemon juice
(Merriam-Webster Dictionary)


一説によると、昔々(18世紀)、地中海の島であるミノルカ島にフランスが攻め入ったそうですが、その際に同島の港マオン(Port of Mahon)においてフランス軍の大将が作ったのが始まりとされているそうです。その名も、mahon-naiseだったのですが、これが"mayonnaise"になった、という説です。






アメリカのメディアはオバマ大統領によるスピーチを取り上げています。USA Today紙から引用します。

Gum-chewing, limo-eschewing Obama riles some Chinese

BEIJING — Ahead of an economic summit in Beijing, billed as the biggest international event in the Chinese capital since the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, authorities demanded that residents brush up their typically brusque manners. The Communist Party launched a six-month campaign to make Beijingers behave in a more civilized fashion to welcome the world.

Turns out the rude one, in the eyes of some Chinese Internet users, was the most prominent guest.


Obama eschewed the Red Flag limousine service that ferried other leaders one by one from a nearby building to a banquet, cultural show and fireworks at the aquatic venue. Some Chinese went online to criticize his preference for the familiar security of a U.S.-supplied vehicle, while others understood his choice, but what happened next surprised many here.


Obama emerged from his car chewing gum; he's a well-known user of Nicorette, the smoking-cessation gum. But Chinese Internet users, accustomed to the highly formal standards of their stiff party leadership, quickly characterized the leader of the world's most powerful nation as an impolite "idler," or careless "rapper."
(Calum MacLeod. Gum-chewing, limo-eschewing Obama riles some Chinese. USA Today. November 10, 2014.)











double tap

9/11同時多発テロの首謀者とされるOsama bin Ladenがパキスタンの潜伏先で米軍により殺害されたのは3年以上前の2011年5月2日(日本時間)のことでした。

"I thought I'd give him a third shot for good luck," heroic Navy SEAL Robert O'Neill told rapt 9/11 family members of the bullets he boasts of firing into Osama bin Laden’s skull.

He had been taught to fire two head shots — the so-called double-tap.

Still, there was "no harm in putting one more bullet in him," O'Neill explained during a top-secret gathering at the 9/11 Museum in lower Manhattan in July, people who heard O'Neill speak told The Post.
(Susan Edelman. I shot Osama a third time — for good luck: Navy SEAL. New York Post. November 9, 2014.)

テロリスト集団のトップに君臨したOsama bin Ladenの首を取った当時の状況についての回想録などが公表されているようですが、上記に引用した海軍兵士による殺害の状況説明は生々しいものがあります。









Working out is good for you, right? Not if the air in your gym is polluted.

As it gets chilly outside, it's all the more tempting to "snuggle" up on your sofa and save any thoughts of exercise for the good intentions of the New Year. But as many of us don't want to sacrifice our fitness (and good on you if this applies to you), working out at the gym, in the warm, seems like the best option. However, a new study claims this might not be as healthy as you think -- because you could be breathing in toxins every time you hit the treadmill.
(How polluted is the air in your gym? TV3.ie. November 6, 2014.)











The extremists of the Islamic State appeared unstoppable after their sudden blitz through Iraq this summer, with its battle-hardened fighters continually raising their black flag over newly conquered areas.
(ISIS Wave of Might Is Turning Into Ripple. New York Times. November 5, 2014.)



November police blitz to target red-light runners

Ottawa and Gatineau police will be on the lookout this month for drivers who run red lights or make unsafe lane changes.
(Ottawa Citizen. November 5, 2014.)


Starting Nov. 3 and running through Dec. 14, the Ontario Ministry of Labour is sending inspectors to various industrial sector workplaces, including wood and metal fabrication, chemical and plastics, manufacturing and automotive plants.


The government is conducting the safety blitz in an effort to show a continued commitment to workplace health and safety through its Safe at Work Ontario enforcement initiative.
(Ontario launches safety blitz at industrial workplaces. Occupational Safety. November 3, 2014.)

こちらは"safety blitz"となっていますが、これも労働現場における安全性に関する“抜き打ちチェック”くらいの意味でしょうか。


英語になった不名誉な日本語 ― karoshi



A Japanese court has ordered a restaurant chain and two of its officials to pay more than $580,000 damages to the family of a man who killed himself after working excessive hours.

The unidentified 24-year-old employee took his own life in November 2010.
(Japanese restaurant to pay $580,000 damages to family of man who killed himself after excessive work. Radio Australia. November 5, 2014.)


Japan's culture of long working hours and unpaid overtime is regularly criticised as a leading cause of mental and physical illness among employees.

The term karoshi, which means 'death by overwork', entered the lexicon a few years ago amid a surge in the number of people dying because of stress-related problems or taking their own lives.


Karoshi is a Japanese word meaning death from overwork. This term has been used since the 1970s. In 1978 there was a report on 17 karoshi cases at the 51st annual meeting of the Japan Association of Industrial Health. Karoshi is not a pure medical term but a sociomedical term that refers to fatalities or associated work disability due to cardiovascular attacks (such as brain strokes, myocardial infarction or acute cardiac failure) aggravated by a heavy workload and long working hours. The phenomenon was first identified in Japan, and the word is now adopted internationally.
(International Labor Organizationのサイトから引用)



究極の~ ― on steroids



The afternoon coffee run may become a thing of the past if Starbucks Corp. gets its way.

The world's largest coffee-shop chain said Thursday it would offer delivery in select markets in the second half of next year. Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz described the plan as "e-commerce on steroids," letting customers create standing orders that arrive at their desks daily.
(Leslie Patton. Starbucks run may be a thing of the past as chain tests delivery. New York Times. October 31, 2014.)

さて、同社CEOであるHoward Schultz氏のコメントが引用されていますが、

e-commerce on steroids


新しいデリバリーサービスのことを、"e-commerce on steroids"と言っていますが、"on steroids"という表現は初めて見るものでした。


"on steroids"はその"e-commerce"を修飾しているわけですが、これは、

In a very large, enhanced, or exaggerated form
(American Heritage Dictionary of English Language)


ステロイド(steroids)は言ってみれば筋肉増強剤とでも言うべきものですが、あたかもそのステロイドを投与して増強したような、という意味が"on steroids"ということになります。

あまり見かけない表現ではありますが、American Heritage Dictionaryのエントリにあるくらいですから、ある程度定着した表現のようです。(ちなみに英和辞典の類では見当たりません。)


Ultrawideband could serve as a near ideal medium for short-range "personal-area networks" that connect electronic devices. This concept is already embodied in the communications standard known as Bluetooth. But ultra-wideband radios will be like "Bluetooth on steroids," says Martin Rofheart, XtremeSpectrum's cofounder and CEO.
(Technology Reivew. 2002.)

Within four years, AudioNet-later renamed Broadcast.com-was the leading aggregator and broadcaster of live and on-demand audio and video programs in the world. "It's cable on steroids," Cubes liked to crow as he crisscrossed the country, flying more than half a million milesthe lifetime pass! -to drum up business and buzz, to sell his vision, a whole new way of using the Internet.
(Esquire. 2000.)

さて、この"on steroids"を何と訳すかですが、“究極の~”という訳語がふと思い浮かびました。



アップルCEO、同性愛を告白 ― come out

先週末ですが、米・アップルのCEOであるTim Cook氏が自身が同性愛者であることを公表し話題となりました。

この手の話題にはどちらかと言えば疎い私は、多くの記事で、"come out"という表現が使われているのを偶然の一致くらいに思っていたのですが、どうやら"come out"には特別な意味があるらしいことが分かりました。

Apple CEO Tim Cook came out Thursday, acknowledging publicly for the first time that he is gay.

"Let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me," he wrote in a column in Bloomberg Businessweek.

In his column, the Apple chief said that he had tried to maintain "a basic level of privacy." But he said he decided that desire for privacy was stopping him from working for the benefit of others.
(Chris Isidore. Apple CEO Tim Cook comes out: 'I'm proud to be gay.' CNN. October 30, 2014.)

日本語でもカタカナで“カミングアウト”という表現として定着しているそうなのですが、"come out"とは同性愛者が自らの性的嗜好を公にする、という特別な意味があるのです。

元々は、"come out of closet"というフレーズだったそうなのですが、"come out"だけでも通じるようになったもののようです。

では、"come out of closet"の"closet"とは何のことでしょうか?

Oxford Dictionary of Euphemismsによりますと、

a lavatory; Literally, a small or private room.

とあります。つまりトイレの個室のことですね。(W.C.という表示は、Water Closetの略です。)

"come out of closet"に関しては、

Again from the small or private room where you act according to your true inclinations. Usually of a male, as a closet queen or queer, and occasionally of a female.


concealing in public your homosexuality