USA Today紙の記事で特集しているのを興味深く読みました。

Some foods are just plain lucky to eat on New Year’s Eve. What associates these dishes with good fortune, exactly? That’s tough to pinpoint, but much of the answer has to do with symbolism and superstition.


Round foods resemble coins and money, Pelaccio says. Eat these symbolic foods, many believe, for a financially successful new year.


If you eat peas with greens and cornbread, then that's even more auspicious, what with green being the color of money and cornbread calling to mind gold.

Black-eyed peas are served with rice in the traditional Southern U.S. dish called “Hoppin’ John” for New Year’s Eve.
(Carly Mallenbaum. Lucky New Year's foods: Black-eyed peas, grapes and noodles promise prosperity. USA Today. December 30, 2021.)








good and proper


Corrine Reynolds, a North Wales resident, quickly became enamored with a squirrel which she often fed in her back garden. That was until the squirrel, named Stripe, bit and drew blood of Reynolds and more than a dozen other local residents, The Guardian reported.


“In the space of 48 hours he attacked 18 people,” she told The Guardian. “He started attacking people who are just taking their recycling bags to the bin, and they are quite gruesome injuries.”


While another neighbor, Sheree Robinson told The Guardian the squirrel bit her on the finger as well as six other neighbors. 

"It had me good and proper. I’ve got teeth marks on the top and bottom of my finger. It latched on and I had to shake it off," Robinson said.
(Gabriela Miranda. 'It had me good and proper': Welsh squirrel turns on woman who fed him, attacks neighbors. USA Today. December 29, 2021.)



It had me good and proper.


"good and proper"というのは副詞的に用いられているフレーズですが、したたかに、とか、完全に、という意味です。コテンパンにやられた、とでも訳せましょうか。

ところで、この"good and proper"というフレーズの説明を辞書に求めますと、研究社の新英和大辞典によれば、フレーズそのものとしては取り上げられていません。

しかし、"good"のエントリにおいて、"good and 〜"という形で、

(後に続く形容詞または副詞を強調して)非常に、全く(very); 十分に、完全に


つまり、"good and 〜"に続く形容詞、副詞は"proper"に限らないのです。


He’s good and hungry. (とてもお腹がへっている。)
You must word good and hard. (しっかり勉強しなければならない。)


同様のフレーズに、"nice and 〜"、"rare and 〜"というものもありますが、"rare and 〜"については意外というか、正直なところ知りませんでした。




符牒とか隠語という日本語がありますが、いわゆる"business jargon"というのが身近かも知れません。


As 2021 comes to an end, it's the perfect time for reflection. And let's be frank: Many of us wish the people in our lives would reflect on their communication skills. These days, there are some embarrassingly outdated buzzwords and clichés that make everyone want to scream.

Recently, we interviewed managers, recruiters and employees about the words and phrases they think should be retired in 2022 — or at least go on a long vacation. Here's that list, dashed with a healthy amount of our opinions as grammar experts:
(Want to sound more intelligent? Avoid these 15 words and phrases that are 'embarrassingly outdated,' say grammar experts. CNBC. December 26, 2021.)

記事では、もはや時代遅れの烙印を押された15の表現が取り上げられています。ある意味、今年の1語(Word of the Year)の逆を行く面白い企画と思いました。


11. 'Take it offline'

"If one more person tells me they want to take it offline, I'll scream."

That's what one irritated manager told us, and we hear her pain. It seems like everyone wants to take things offline instead of talking about it later, like they used to say in the old days. Maybe we should all take "offline" offline.



日本語でも使われるこの表現は恐らく英語での"Let’s take it to off-line."から来ているのだと思います。


Merriam-Webster Dictionaryによりますと、"off-line"という単語の初出は1919年だそうです。



皮肉なことには、パンデミック下、対面でのコミュニケーションの機会が制限され、オンラインでのコミュニケーションが主流となる中、"Let’s take it to off-line."と言いながら、その後、改めて別のオンライン会議で、あるいは電子メールやチャットでその話題の議論を継続せざるを得ないという状況があります。

もはや「オフライン」では成立し得ないビジネスコミュニケーションの時代と言うべきでしょうか。そうしたことからも、やはり、"Let’s take it to off-line."は時代遅れ?


措置入院 ― section

クリスマスのバッキンガム宮殿に男が侵入したとして逮捕されたとBBC Newsが報道しています。男はクロスボウを所持しており、エリザベス女王に危害を加える意図があったとされるということなのですが、動機や背景が今一つはっきりしないようでもあります。

Police are investigating a video linked to a man who was found with a crossbow at Windsor Castle on Christmas Day.

The footage, obtained by The Sun newspaper, appears to show a masked person in a hoodie holding a crossbow.

They are shown addressing the camera saying they wanted to "assassinate the Queen" in a "revenge" mission.


A 19-year-old suspect was sectioned under the Mental Health Act after being found in the castle grounds.
(Windsor Castle: Queen 'assassination' bid video probed. BBC News. December 27, 2021.)


Man found with crossbow at Windsor Castle sectioned
(BBC News)


が、イギリス英語では、特別な意味合いを持つようで、Cambridge Dictionaryのオンライン版では以下のような定義がされています。

to officially force someone who has mental health problems to stay in a hospital and receive treatment because they might harm themselves or other people

英国のMental Health Actに基づき、自傷他害の恐れがある精神疾患が疑われる患者を強制的に収容することを"section"という動詞で表すようです。日本語では「措置入院」と呼ばれるものに相当するかと思います。

ところで、当のMental Health Actはネットでもアクセスできるのでざっと斜め読みなどしてみるのですが、“admit” (admission)や“hospitalize”、“detain”といった動詞は使われていても、“section”は見当たらないのです。(法律の条項の、いわゆる「項」を指す"section"は多数。)


If someone says, "You're being sectioned under the Mental Health Act", they mean you're detained according to a particular section of the Mental Health Act.

In most cases, you'll be told which section of the Mental Health Act applied in your case. For example, "You're detained under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act".

これを読むと措置入院させるという動詞のsectionは、Mental Health Actという法令で用いられる正式な用語、専門用語というよりも、同法で細かく規定される項(section)のいずれかに当てはまることによって、同法が定める措置入院の対象となることを意味するようになったものと解釈でき、俗語的な意味合いに感じられます。





JOHANNESBURG, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and veteran of South Africa's struggle against apartheid who was revered as his nation's conscience by both Black and white, died on Sunday aged 90.

Tutu won the Nobel prize in 1984 in recognition of his non-violent opposition to white minority rule. A decade later, he witnessed the end of that regime and chaired a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to unearth atrocities committed under it.
(Desmond Tutu, South Africa's 'moral compass', dies at 90. Reuters. December 27, 2021.)



ところで、アフリカーンス語というのは別名South African Dutch、Cape Dutchなどとも呼ばれるそうで(研究社新英和大辞典)、かつて同国を植民地下に置いていたオランダの影響で、オランダ語の流れを汲む印欧語族の1言語とされています。



死後硬直 ー rigor mortis

人間は死ぬとその直後から、死後硬直と呼ばれる状態に移行しますが、この死後硬直を英語で“rigor mortis”と言います。




After death here on Earth, the human body progresses through a number of stages of decomposition. These were described as early as 1247 in Song Ci's The Washing Away of Wrongs, essentially the first forensic science handbook.

First the blood stops flowing and begins to pool as a result of gravity, a process known as livor mortis. Then the body cools to algor mortis, and the muscles stiffen due to uncontrolled build-up of calcium in the muscle fibers. This is the state of rigor mortis. Next enzymes, proteins which speed up chemical reactions, break down cell walls releasing their contents.

At the same time, the bacteria in our gut escape and spread throughout the body. They devour the soft tissues—putrefaction—and the gases they release cause the body to swell. Rigor mortis is undone as the muscles are destroyed, strong smells are emitted and the soft tissues are broken down.
(Tim Thompson. Death in space: Here's what would happen to our bodies. Phys.org. October 18, 2021.)



人間の身体に起きる死後の変化については、死後硬直(rigor mortis)の他、その前段階としての変化に、

livor mortis
algor mortis


“rigor mortis”に同じく、いずれもラテン語ですが、それぞれ、死斑、死冷、と訳されるようです。




アメリカで登場した“Don’t Weigh Me”と呼ばれる手のひらサイズのカード。若者の摂食障害などの問題に取り組むカリフォルニア州の団体が作成しました。病院での体重測定をストレスに感じる人はこのカードを見せることで体重測定を拒否するそうです。

A body positivity website has created free “Don't Weigh Me" cards for patients who find stepping on the scale at the doctor's office stressful.


The cards read: "Please don't weigh me unless it's (really) medically necessary," adding "If you really need my weight, please tell me why so that I can give you my informed consent," as shown in photographs on More-Love.org:


The group supports a "Health at Every Size" philosophy, based around the assumption that "the current practice of linking weight to health using BMI (body mass Iindex) standards is biased and unhelpful.

"Because we live in a fatphobic society, being weighed and talking about weight causes feelings of stress and shame" the website states.
(Allegra Goodwin. 'Don't Weigh Me' cards aim to reduce stress at the doctor's office. CNN. December 22, 2021.)



In the video, which has 4.8 million views, the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star, 37, can be heard voicing her controversial opinion in an interview with British podcast host Jay Shetty.

The fitness aficionado tells Shetty: "I can't stand people that are like eating a bucket of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, [saying] 'I'm so fat!'

"And like, they won't work out, they won't change their diet, they won't drink more water, they won't whatever, but they're complaining, complaining, complaining."
(Lydia Veljanovski. Khloe Kardashian Slammed As Video of Her Being 'Fatphobic' Goes Viral. Newsweek. September 1, 2021.)






The world's biggest fast food company McDonald's is suffering a chip shortage in Japan due to the global supply chain crisis.

For the home of the Big Mac though it is not a lack of semiconductors that is causing the problem.

The firm has said it is experiencing delays of shipments of the potatoes used to make its famous French fries.

As a result it will only sell small portions of its French fries in Japan from Friday until 30 December.
(McDonald's faces a French fries shortage in Japan. BBC News. December 22, 2021.)

さて、引用しましたのはイギリス、BBC Newsの記事です。

イギリスならでは(⁉)ですが、"a chip shortage"という表現に注目しましょう。なお、記事のタイトルは"a French fries shortage"です。

イギリス人が"chips"という時、それは"Fish & Chips"といったメニューに見られるように、フライドポテトのことを指しています。

ややこしいのは、アメリカでは"French fries"と言うことが多いということです。(アメリカなのに、「フレンチ」というのがまたややこしい。)



“chips”は、我々に馴染みのあるフライドポテト(French fries)とほぼ同じで、スティック状に切ったポテトを揚げたものを指すイギリス英語の表現です。


it is not a lack of semiconductors that is causing the problem






今年も残り2週間足らず、この時期、2021年の"Word of the Year"が発表されます。(実のところ、発表は11月末頃で、チェックするのを忘れていました。)

Merriam-Webster Dictionaryが検索の統計を基に決定する2021年の"Word of the Year"は"vaccine"でした。

一方、Collins Dictionaryでは"NFT"が今年の1語に選出されました。候補となった単語のリストには、当ブログでも取り上げたことのあるmetaversepingdemicなどに混じって、この"cheugy"がありました。

Are you cheugy?

The term, which describes a person who is out of trend or trying too hard, has blown up on TikTok, prompting users, particularly 20 and 30-somethings, to wonder if they fall into the category.

Gucci belts, ripped skinny jeans and monogramed tops all made it onto user @youngnlipless' list of cheugy items, garnering nearly 300,000 likes. Other things called out as cheugy include Rae Dunn pottery, having #GirlBoss energy and decorative wooden signs of the "live, laugh, love" variety.

While cheugy (pronounced chew-gee) may seem like a playful label, it can have negative effects, particularly for women. Even so, experts say we shouldn't pay the trendy put-down too much attention, as it's just the latest version of a tired insult.
(Sara M Moniuszko. Are you 'cheugy'? Maybe. But here's why you shouldn't care. USA Today. June 28, 2021.)

引用したのは今年6月のUSA Today紙の記事からですが、Collins Dictionaryの定義では、

no longer regarded as cool or fashionable


この単語の初出は2013年とされるところ、広まったのはSNS上で、いわゆるZ世代(Generation Z)と呼ばれる若者が、ミレニアル世代(millennial)のファッションを揶揄したのがきっかけだということです。



go through the roof


It sounds like something out of a bad Christmas movie, but this year Australia has been hit by a fresh Christmas tree shortage, with those yet to buy one told to hurry up or miss out.

The issue appears to have hit hardest in Victoria, where customers have reported being forced to try multiple sources before securing a tree.


Alex Costa, owner of Victoria Christmas Tree Farm in Ballarat, says he has had to turn down several requests from wholesalers and estimates he could have sold at least an additional 2500 trees this year had the supply been available.

“Demand has gone through the roof,” he said.
(Duncan Murray. Christmas tree shortage prompts warnings for Aussies to hurry up or miss out. News.com.au. December 13, 2021.)


“Demand has gone through the roof

というコメントがそうなのですが、この"go through the roof"というフレーズは、モノの値段や数量などが上昇し、屋根を突き抜けるほどである、つまり留まるところを知らず、という意味合いがあります。日本語で「天井知らず」と言うのに近いものがありますね。








Boris Johnson joined No 10 staff for a party in Downing Street during the first lockdown in May last year, sources have alleged, raising questions about whether there was a culture of flouting the rules over a number of months.

The prime minister spent about 15 minutes with staff at the alleged social gathering on 15 May 2020, telling one aide inside No 10 that they deserved a drink for “beating back” coronavirus, a joint investigation by the Guardian and Independent was told.
(Boris Johnson joined No 10 pizza party during May 2020 lockdown, say sources. The Guardian. December 16, 2021.)


a culture of flouting the rules



To ignore or disregard (a rule or convention, for example) in an open or defiant way
(American Heritage Dictionary)




というものがあり、こちらは見せびらかす(showing off)という意味で用いられるものなのですが、何故か(恐らくはスペルが似ているからか?)"flout"と同じように、ルール軽視を意味するコンテクストで用いられることがあるそうです。

American Heritage Dictionaryでは、このような"flaunt"の用法を誤用であるとUsage Noteで説明しています。








The Big Apple just became the biggest city yet to say goodbye to gas hookups in new construction. New York City Council passed a bill today that prohibits the combustion of fossil fuels in new buildings, effectively phasing out the use of gas for cooking and heating.

Addressing building emissions is critical to New York City meeting its climate goals; they’re responsible for 70 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.
(Justine Calma. New York becomes largest US city to ban new gas hookups -- It’s the biggest city yet to do so and a bellwether for the rest of the US. The Verge. December 15, 2021.)

この記事を最初に読んだ際に、"gas hookups"とある部分が引っ掛かったのですが、いわゆるガス等の配管設備のことを指しているというのが辞書を引いて分かったという次第です。

"hook (up)"とは、鉤で引っ掛ける、吊るす、ホックに掛ける、という意味ですが、"hookup"という名詞で、









RTFKT社(アーティファクト、と発音するそうです)は非代替性トークン(Non-Fungible Token; NFT)と呼ばれる技術を導入し、ヴァーチャルスニーカーなどを開発することで知られており、ナイキ社が目指している「メタバース」構想への一歩と目されています。

Nike announced its first substantial foray into the metaverse yesterday (Dec. 13) with the purchase of RTFKT (pronounced “artifact,” of course), a non-fungible token (NFT) studio that produces digital collectibles, including virtual sneakers. They did not disclose the value of the deal.

“This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture,” said Nike president John Donahoe. Nike last indicated it was getting into the metaverse in November, when it quietly filed over half a dozen of its signature trademarks with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) “for use online and in online virtual worlds.”

With the acquisition of RTFKT, Nike is one step closer to offering goods emblazoned with its signature swoosh to online communities. The opportunity looks lucrative—while RTFKT has only been around since 2020, it’s already raked in millions of dollars for virtual sneakers.
(Courtney Vinopal. Nike’s purchase of RTFKT hints at what its metaverse will look like. Quartz. December 14, 2021.)




手元の辞書には載っていませんし、またオンライン辞書の類にもまだエントリとして掲載しているものはほとんど無いようですが、ウィキペディアなどによりますと、SF作家のNeal Stephensonが1992年に発表した小説で使われたのが最初ということですから、意外と古いものだということになります。




a heartbeat away


In the last week, alarms started going off about Vice President Kamala Harris facing an embarrassing staff exodus by her communications team, including well-known strategist Symone Sanders.

By Saturday morning, December 4, The Washington Post reported on the front page that this morale problem "reignites leadership concerns." How can she take over for Biden?
(Tim Graham. Kamala Harris is a heartbeat away from the presidency, but media skips her struggles -- Networks celebrate Harris as 'historic,' which protects her from the kind of scrutiny reporters usually apply. Fox News. December 13, 2021.)


Kamala Harris is a heartbeat away from the presidency

とあるのですが、"a heartbeat away"という表現が何を意味するのか分かりませんでした。

恐らくは、"miles away from~"(~からxxマイル離れている)といった類の表現に同じものだろうとは思ったのですが、それが"a heartbeat"(心拍1つ分?)というのはイメージが湧かなかったのです。





"a heartbeat away from presidency"とは、大統領職に最も近い、つまり次期大統領になりうる、あるいは大統領にいつでも取って代わる立場にある、ということを言わんとしているようです。


コーパスで"heartbeat away"を検索してみると、"a heartbeat away from presidency"という用例が多数ヒットします。


Her personal story is impressive: former fisherman, mother of five. But that hardly qualifies her to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.
(CNN, 2012)

ちなみにここで出てくる"her"というのは共和党の副大統領候補であったSarah Palin氏のことです。


no lens big enough



Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said at least 50 people were killed in western Kentucky, and the death toll from what he described as "the most devastating tornado event in our state's history" could exceed 100.

"To the people of America, there is no lens big enough to show you the extent of the damage here in Graves County, or in Kentucky. Nothing that was standing in the direct line of this tornado is still standing," Beshear said during a Sunday afternoon news conference with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
(Deadly tornado updates: Search for survivors continues after devastating storms. ABC News. December 13, 2021.)



there is no lens big enough to show you the extent of the damage here



このような表現が人口に膾炙しているのか知りませんが、"no lens wide enough"ということもあるようです。


leaving do



Boris Johnson and his Downing Street staff have been accused of breaking Covid rules by attending parties at Number 10 in the run-up to last Christmas.

The Prime Minister gave a speech at a packed leaving do for a top aide last November when the country was in the grip of its second lockdown.

Then just days before Christmas, with London in tier 3 restrictions, members of his top team held their own festive bash in Downing Street.

Officials knocked back glasses of wine during a Christmas quiz and a Secret Santa while the rest of the country was forced to stay at home.
(Pippa Crerar EXCLUSIVE: Boris Johnson 'broke Covid lockdown rules' with Downing Street parties at Xmas. Daily Mirror. November 30, 2021.)


a packed leaving do for a top aide last November

という箇所がありますが、"leaving do"という表現を知りませんでした。


そして、"leaving do"となると、これは退職者や部署異動などで、去っていく同僚などのために行う、いわゆる送別会の意味合いで使われます。

こういう表現に出会えるとは、英タブロイド紙のDaily Mirrorの記事だけありました。

去年の話なんて遠い昔のように思われますが、暴露されたパーティーは"Number 10"(首相官邸)で行われたということですから、ジョンソン首相は辞任すべきとの批判が沸き起こるのもむべなるかなといったところです。



shut up and dribble




Chinese officials are fuming over President Joe Biden's decision this week to stage a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The United States won’t send any government officials to the February games to protest “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Tuesday called the boycott “contrary to the Olympic Charter Principle that sports should maintain political neutrality.” He vowed China would respond with “resolute countermeasures” but offered no details.

“The U.S. will pay for its wrongdoing," Zhao said. "You can wait and see."

It seems the U.S., where athletes protesting injustice have frequently been met with calls to “shut up and dribble,” is getting a taste of its own medicine.
(Ja'han Jones. China tells U.S. to shut up and dribble. MSNBC. December 8, 2021.)

引用した記事で、"shut up and dribble"という表現が使われているのですが、何が言いたいのか分からず、慣用句か何かの類かと思ってしまいました。



2018年に遡るようですが、当時のトランプ大統領に批判的な発言をしたNBAのプロバスケットボール選手に対し、Fox Newsのキャスターがそれを咎めたという一件です。

Journalist Laura Ingraham sought to rebuke the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James for "talking politics" during a recent interview — something the Fox News host believes is out of bounds for an athlete.


Ingraham responded to his comments Thursday, calling them "barely intelligible" and "ungrammatical" on her Fox News program The Ingraham Angle.

"It's always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball," she said. "Keep the political comments to yourselves. ... Shut up and dribble."
(Emily Sullivan. Laura Ingraham Told LeBron James To Shut Up And Dribble; He Went To The Hoop. NPR. February 19, 2018.)



この一件が世論で取り沙汰されたことを契機に、"shut up and dribble"は、スポーツ選手は政治的なことに口を挟むな、というメッセージを表現するフレーズとして定着したようです。

今回北京オリンピックの外交的ボイコットを表明したバイデン氏は、見方によっては「スポーツに政治を絡める」ということをやっているとも取れる訳で、"shut up and dribble"を逆手に取られる格好となっている、というです。

なお、バイデン政権は"shut up and dribble"せよ、と中国が本当に言ったのかは不明です。


bow out



BERLIN (AP) — Angela Merkel was assured of a place in the history books as soon as she became Germany’s first female chancellor on Nov. 22, 2005.

Over the next 16 years, she was credited with raising Germany’s profile and influence, working to hold a fractious European Union together, managing a string of crises and being a role model for women.

Now that near-record tenure is ending with her leaving office at age 67 to praise from abroad and enduring popularity at home. Her designated successor, Olaf Scholz, is expected to take office Wednesday.

Merkel, a former scientist who grew up in communist East Germany, is bowing out about a week short of the record for longevity held by her one-time mentor, Helmut Kohl, who reunited Germany during his 1982-1998 tenure.
(Geir Moulson. End of an era: Germany’s Merkel bows out after 16 years. Associated Press. December 7, 2021.)


さて、メルケル氏の退任について、"bow out"という表現が使われているのに目が留まりました。こういったコンテクストでは“step down”という表現をよく見かけるように思いますので、"bow out"はある意味新鮮でした。


外国人、特に欧米の人がお辞儀をするというのはあまり見ないように思うのですが、"bow out"を敢えて使うのはどのような意味が込められているのだろうと気になった次第です。

英和辞書を引いてみますと、"bow out"という動詞句で取り上げているものは見当たらないのですが、他動詞としての"bow"の意味に、(お辞儀をして)人を迎え入れる(in)、あるいは送り出す(out)、とあります。

英和辞書において自動詞としての"bow (out)"にはそれらしき説明がないところ、Merriam-Websterでは"bow out"を、"retire"、"withdraw"と定義しています。


Dimitrov, a two-time major semifinalist, bowed out 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-4 in the third round against Fernando Verdasco, who is ranked 35th and seeded 30th.
(ESPN, 2018)




blink twice




A tweet sent by one of Vice President Kamala Harris' staff members claiming he loved his job became the focus of intense mockery Monday as critics joked that he was tweeting while "under duress."

"Hi. My name is David Gins. I work for Vice President Harris on behalf of the American people as Deputy Director for Operations and absolutely love my job. Just thought some of you should know," wrote Gins, who has worked as Harris' Deputy Director of Operations since April according to his LinkedIn profile.


Critics relentlessly mocked Gins' tweet, with many jokingly imploring the staffer to "blink twice" if he needed to be rescued, and others suggesting he only sent the tweet after being threatened by Harris.
(Brandon Gillespie. Kamala Harris staffer gets ribbed after insisting he loves his job: 'Blink twice if you need help'. Fox News. December 16, 2021.)




with many jokingly imploring the staffer to "blink twice"

ということなのですが、この"blink twice"という表現は何を言わんとしているのでしょうか。


尤も、直後に、"if needed to be rescued"とあるのがヒントになります。

"blink twice"、つまり2回まばたきをする、とは、何らかの事情により意思と裏腹の発言を強いられているような危機的状況に際して取る非言語コミュニケーションの一種なのです。

例えば、人質に取られた人間が、自身が無事であるとビデオメッセージで伝えることがあります。それが強制されているということを、言葉ではなく、まばたき("blink twice")で伝えることから、このような表現が定着したようです。


'Tis the season.




'Tis the season.


MOUNT DORA — Linda and Jeanette Bokland's “Letters to Santa” project has become a holiday tradition for local families.

Every year, kids are invited to drop off their letters to Santa in a certified mailbox, a landing point before they get shipped off to the North Pole. But the Boklands have made this an extra special experience as the kids receive a return letter from Mrs. Claus.
(Cindy Peterson. 'Tis the season! Annual Letters to Santa campaign has started. Yahoo! News. December 6, 2021.)

この’Tisというのは、It isを短縮したもので、'Tis the season.というのは、"It is the season."と言っているのと同じです。

ところで、'Tis the season.という時、それは決まってクリスマス~年末のことであり、春や夏に'Tis the season.ということはほとんどないようです。


Merriam-Websterのサイトに詳しいのですが、'Tis the season.というフレーズは、皆さん誰もがきっと聞いたことがある(クリスマス定番と言ってもよいかと思います)クリスマスソングの歌詞に由来しているというのです。

私もそれを読んでなるほどと思いましたが、そのクリスマスソングというのは"Deck the Hall with Boughs of Holly"というもので、一部抜粋しますと以下のような歌詞です。

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,

Fa la la la la, la la la la.

'Tis the season to be jolly,

Fa la la la la, la la la la.

3行目の部分がまさにそうなのですが、'Tis the season.というこの時期特有のフレーズは、ここから来ているのです。



blank-check company



Shares in Grab , Southeast Asia's biggest ride-hailing and delivery firm, slid more than 20% in their Nasdaq debut on Thursday following the company's record $40 billion merger with a blank-check company.

Grab's shares rose as much as 21% minutes after the listing before retreating to trade 23% lower at $8.51 by 1834 GMT.
(Southeast Asia's Grab slumps in U.S. debut after record SPAC deal. Reuters. December 2, 2021.)


ところで記事中に、"blank-check company"というのが出てきます。



It was touted as the biggest acquisition ever by a blank-check company (a nickname for a SPAC), which raises money with the purpose of seeking a target to merge with and take public.
(Brenda Bouw. Grab's IPO Fizzles in First Day of Trading. The Street. December 2, 2021.)

こちらでは"blank-check company"とは"SPAC"のニックネームだと説明しています。

この"SPAC"とは、Special Purpose Acquisition Companyの略だそうで、日本語では「特別買収目的会社」と訳されます。

SPAC、すなわち“ blank-check company”は事業としては特定のものを持たず、他社を買収することを目的として設立される会社のことを言うのだそうです。



down the rabbit hole




Plugins such as BlockSite, Freedom, or Inbox Pause can block the constant influx of email for periods of the day. Gmail plugins such as Quick Compose open only the compose email window when we need to write an email, and help us avoid chasing furry rabbits down rabbit holes.
(Steve Glaveski. Remote Work Should Be (Mostly) Asynchronous. Harvard Business Review. December 01, 2021.)



help us avoid chasing furry rabbits down rabbit holes


ここで使われている"down rabbit holes"というのは恐らく慣用句の類なのだろうと想像がつきますが、初めて見るものでした。




Rabbits, like many other animals, dig holes and complex underground passages, like tunnels, to build their homes. So, when rabbits want to go home, they must go down the rabbit hole. And that may lead to other holes, tunnels, and paths, or even other rabbit homes.

In English, we use the expression down the rabbit hole when we get so caught up in the search for something – like an answer to a problem – that we end up somewhere totally different.
(Falling 'Down the Rabbit Hole'. VOA Learning English. June 05, 2021.)





Well, the expression comes from the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland written by Lewis Carroll in 1865. Alice, the girl in the story, begins her adventure by falling and falling and falling down a very long rabbit hole. She falls slowly and sees things on the way down – strange things. And when she arrives at the bottom things only get stranger.

この"down the rabbit hole"という表現は、当初の目的から逸れて(または見失って)、思いもしなかった(しばしば望ましくない)帰結に至るということを表現するのに用いられるようです。用例を探してみるとすぐにいくつかが見つかりました。

A personal friend described to me how her first encounter with QAnon belief in Australia resulted from a “rabbit hole” opening for her on Facebook while she searched recommendations of organic food for her dog.
(Van Badham. QAnon: how the far-right cult took Australians down a ‘rabbit hole’ of extremism. The Guardian. November 13, 2021.)

In addition to cracking down on menacing, harassing and offensive material, the inquiry will also investigate the algorithms used by social media platforms to recommend content.

“The worry is that kids get taken down a rabbit hole of increasingly harmful content.
(Parliamentary inquiry to go down the rabbit hole in crackdown on Big Tech. 2GB.com. December 1, 2021.)




ugly sweater



マイクロソフト社が、そのマインスイーパをテーマにした"ugly sweater"を発売したとニュースになっています。

Microsoft has launched a new Windows software-themed ugly sweater on its Xbox Gear Shop dedicated to the infamous Windows game Minesweeper.


This is Microsoft’s second year of Windows-themed ugly sweaters. Last year, the company released three ugly sweater designs, including one garment based on the timeless MS Paint application, which humorously looked as if it were designed in that very app.


Microsoft is selling the Minesweeper ugly sweater for the explosive price of $74.99 — $5 more expensive than last year’s designs. The sweaters sold out in 24 hours last year with a late December restock, so if you want to look like a pro at flagging mines this holiday, then get one soon.
(Umar Shakir. Microsoft is selling ugly Windows sweaters again, and this time, it’s Minesweeper. The Verge. November 30, 2021.)


ところで、これらのセーターについては、繰り返し、"ugly sweater"と書かれているのが気になりました。


しかも、この"ugly sweater"は70ドル以上もの値段で販売され、昨年などは発売後24時間も経たないうちに売り切れたということです。

"ugly sweater"をこぞって買い求めるというのは、不思議な話であります。


クリスマスシーズンがいよいよスタートするこの時期、"ugly sweater"はいわば必須アイテムになっているということらしいです。

色々と調べてみますと、"ugly Christmas sweater"と呼ばれるプレゼントは、親の言う事を聞かない子供に対するクリスマスプレゼントの定番だったそうです。つまり、もらった子供ががっかりするようなプレゼント、ということで、その点では"ugly"に違い無かった訳です。

ところが、"ugly Christmas sweater"はその後、"ugly"ではない地位を獲得していったようで、クリスマスシーズンに欠かせないものとなっています。


Move over twinkling fir trees and wreaths, eggnog, stockings and the office secret Santa -- there's a new kid in town. Over the last decade the ugly Christmas sweater has firmly embedded itself in yuletide culture.


The garment has quickly become an essential part of the holidays, ubiquitous as Christmas lights and wrapping paper. It's obnoxious and tacky, but also fuzzy and kind of wholesome -- the fashion equivalent of a Hallmark Christmas movie (with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek).
(Marianna Cerini. A cozy history of the ugly Christmas sweater. CNN. November 15, 2021.)

個人的には、ファッションセンスというのは難しいと思っており、クリスマスシーズンと言えども"ugly sweater"が受けるかどうかは微妙なところだと思います。

日本のクリスマスは商業イベントに違いありませんが、このような"ugly sweater"(ダサセーター、ダセーター、などと呼ばれるようです)は浸透しているのでしょうか。