Now, Words and Their Stories, a program from VOA Learning English.Today we talk about a problem we have all faced. It is when you have to make a decision,but the choices you have are not very appealing. In fact, some of those choices are really bad.We have all had to choose from leftovers that no one else wanted.In other words, we had to scrape the bottom of the barrel.As you probably know, a barrel is a round, usually wooden container. It has curved sides and flat ends.Barrels are often found on farms. They are usually strong and good for holding tools.Some makers of alcoholic drinks, such as wine and bourbon, let their products age in oak barrels.Some people say the right wood gives the final product a smoky quality.Hundreds of years ago, barrels had another -- much more important -- purpose.This was long before the United States became independent.
现在是VOA学英语《词汇掌故》节目时间。今天我们来谈论一个我们都会面对的问题。这就是当你必须做一个决定的时候，可是你所拥有的选择都不太吸引人。实际上，其中一些选择还很糟糕。我们都不得不从别人不想选的选择中去做选择。换句话说，我们必须退而求其次（scrape the bottom of the barrel）。你也许知道，“barrel（桶）”是一个圆圆的，通常是木制容器。它的边是弯曲的，两头是扁平的。农场里经常会有这种圆桶。它们通常很坚固且很适用于夹持工具。一些酒精饮料的制造商，如葡萄酒和波旁威士忌，这些制造商会让他们的产品在橡木桶中保存。一些人说使用正确的木材才能使使最终的成品具有绝佳的品质。很多年前，木桶还有一个更重要的用途。这是早在美国独立之前。