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Believe it or not, the English language has about 25,000 idiomatic expressions.
And some of the oldest ones have very interesting histories.
Today our question involves an expression from early English literature.
It comes from Dimitrije in Serbia. Here is what he writes:
What is the exact meaning of the word "doornail"?
That word comes from Shakespeare's idiom "as dead as a doornail."
I'm not sure about what the idiom means and when it is used.
Hello, Dimitrije. That is a great question!
One of the best things about teaching is that students ask questions teachers don't know the answers to.
We have to look for the information and, in the process, we learn things, too. Here is what I learned:
The expression "as dead as a doornail" is older than William Shakespeare.
One of its earliest known uses was in a poem by the 14th century English writer William Langland.
Knowing the meaning of "doornail" will help us understand this idiom.
Doornails are very large nails that, in early times, were used to strengthen doors.
不管你信不信,英语中大约有两万五千种地道表达。
一些最古老的表达有着非常有趣的历史。
今天我们的问题涉及到一个早期英国文学中的表达。
问题来自于塞尔维亚的Dimitrije。下面是她写的问题:
“doornail”这个单词的确切意思是什么?
这个词来自莎士比亚的俚语“as dead as a doornail”。
我不确定这个俚语是什么意思,也不知道该怎么用。
你好Dimitrije,这个问题问的非常好。
教学中最棒的事情之一就是学生会问老师不知道答案的问题。
我查阅了一些资料,也学到了不少,以下是我的发现:
“as dead as a doornail”这种表达甚至比莎士比亚都要古老。
它最早的用法是在14世纪英国作家威廉・朗格兰的一首诗中。
了解“doornail”的意思可以帮助我们理解这个习语。
门钉是非常大的钉子,之前常被用来加固门。
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