Have you ever considered all the English expressions that include words about clothes? Let's see if I can name a few off the cuff, or without any preparation.
People wear pants to cover the lower part of their bodies. We sometimes say that people who are restless or nervous have ants in their pants. They might also fly by the seat of their pants. They use their natural sense to do something instead of their learned knowledge. Sometimes, people may get caught with their pants down. They are found doing something they should not be doing. And, in every family, one person takes control. Sometimes a wife tells her husband what to do. Then we say she wears the pants in the family.
Pants usually have pockets to hold things. Money that is likely to be spent quickly can burn a hole in your pocket. Sometimes you need a belt to hold up your pants. If you have less money than usual, you may have to tighten your belt. You may have to live on less money and spend your money carefully. But once you have succeeded in budgeting your money, you will have that skill under your belt.
I always praise people who can save their money and not spend too much. I really take my hat off to them. Yet, when it comes to my own money, I spend it at the drop of a hat – immediately, without waiting. And sadly, you cannot pull money out of a hat. You cannot get money by inventing or imagining it.
Boots are a heavy or strong kind of shoes. People who are too big for their boots think they are more important than they really are. I dislike such people. I really do. You can bet your boots on that. Yet, truly important people are hard to replace. Rarely can you fill their shoes or replace them with someone equally effective.
My father is an important person. He runs a big company. He wears a suit and tie, and a shirt with sleeves that cover his arms. Some people who do not know him well think he is too firm and severe. They think he is a real stuffed shirt. But I know that my father wears his heart on his sleeve. He shows his feelings openly. And, he knows how to keep his shirt on. He stays calm and never gets angry or too excited.
Also, my father has never lost his shirt in a business deal. He is too smart to lose all or most of his money. This is because my father rolls up his sleeves and prepares to work hard. He often has a special plan or answer to a problem that he can use if he needs it. He is like a person who does magic tricks. We say he has a card up his sleeve.
1. ants in one’s pants大家可以想象一下,如果蚂蚁钻进了裤子,人们该如何反应？正常人应该是坐不住了吧！ants in one’s pants就是指"一个人很紧张,坐立不安"。
eg: I have ants in my pants for the coming exam on Tuesday. 想到周二就要考试,我真是坐不住。
美国俚语中,关于小昆虫的还真不少。又如:butterflies in one’s stomach,按字面解释就是,一个人的胃里有蝴蝶。它的真正意思是一种持续不断的恐惧、紧张或忧虑的心情。
2. fly by the seat of one’s pants大家都知道,在无线电电波、雷达等现代化的电子导航系统出现之前,飞行员只能根据地面上的铁路、河流或水塔等来定位航向。但如果飞机飞行在云层里时,飞行员就只好靠自己的猜测来决定方向了。在英语里就是:to fly by the seat of his / her pants。现在人们用该习语来形容"人在做某件事的时候没有明确的指导,也缺乏足够的知识"。
eg: When Jones started up business in the town, he didn’t know anybody, so he had to fly by the seat of his pants. 当琼斯在这个镇子开始做生意时,他一个人都不认识,所以只好全靠自己摸索。
3. be / get caught with one’s pants down按字面解释就是一个人在裤子掉下来的时候被人抓到,那样的情景,该是多么的尴尬啊。作为习语,它的意思就是当一个人正在做坏事、做可耻的事情的时候被人发现了。
eg: A famous singer was caught with his pants down when he was having sex with a prostitute in the back of his car last night. 昨天晚上,一个著名歌手跟妓女在汽车后座发生性关系时被人当场抓住。
4. wear the pant按字面解释就是"穿裤子",这让人很费解,有人不穿裤子吗？作为习语,wear the pants实际是指"(常常是妇女)掌权当家"。
eg: It’s obvious that it is your wife who wears the pants in your family.看得出来,你们家你老婆当家。
5. burn a hole in one’s pocket字面意思是在口袋上烧个洞,其实际意思为"某人留不住钱,花钱如流水"。很不幸,我好像是这样的人。在生活中,我们常用诸如"有点钱就'烧’得难受"、"烧包"来形容这样的人,看来英语跟中文是有很多异曲同工之处的。
eg: I am sure he’ll spend his wages in a few days because the money is burning a hole in his pocket. 我肯定不出几天他就会将工资全部花光,因为他是个有钱留不住的人。
6. tighten one’s belt这个短语很容易理解,"束紧裤腰带",当然是"节约,节俭"的意思。
7. take one’s hat off to字面意思是"向……脱帽致意",引申为"佩服,尊敬"。
eg:I take off my hat to his courage. 我佩服他的勇气。
8. at the drop of a hat中世纪时,欧洲社会流行决斗。决斗之前,决斗者往往把帽子狠狠地往地下一摔,意味着决斗马上就开始了。时过境迁,决斗这一现象已成为历史。然而at the drop of a hat这一短语却流传下来,而且保留了"立即,马上"的意思,其英语的解释为:without waiting, immediately。
eg: If you need a baby sitter urgently, call Mary, because she can come at the drop of a hat. 如果你急需保姆,给玛丽打电话吧,因为她召之即来。
9. pull sth out of a hat 字面意思是"从帽子里拿出什么东西"。魔术师一般都会变一种戏法,那就是:先给观众看一顶帽子,里面好像什么都没有。然后,他(她)用一条手绢把帽子盖起来,用魔术棒敲几下,接着就从帽子里拿出一只兔子、一只鸟或别的其他东西(钱、扑克牌等)。作为习惯用语,pull sth out of a hat 的意思为:(像魔术师一样)变出东西,即凭空变出某事物
10. too big for your boots 它的定义是:someone who is too big for their boots behaves as if they are more important or more clever than they really are. 就是"表现的比本身聪明或重要"的意思.
eg: Since he was made team captain, he's been ordering us all around and generally getting much too big for his boots.
11. A stuffed shirt: Stuffed这个字有好几种解释，有时是指装的满满的。在某种情况下是吃得过饱的意思。那末，a stuffed shirt 是什么意思呢？A stuffed shirt是指那些爱摆架子，表现得神气十足的人。
eg: "My boss is a stuffed shirt: all he talks about is how important his ancestors are, how he was number one in his class at his university, and the wonderful things he thinks he's done for our company."
12. wear one's heart on one's sleeve “把某人的心戴在领口上”，是指那些不掩饰自己情感，十分坦率自己情感和意见的人。
eg: He always wears his heart on his sleeve so that everyone knows how he feels.
13. keep one's shirt on 用中文来说，那就是：“穿着你的衬衣。”即保持冷静，别太紧张。
eg: "Keep your shirt on, Harry; we have plenty of time to catch the train."
14.To lose one's shirt Lose这个字的意思当然就是丢掉，或失去什么东西。to lose one's shirt 实际上并不是真的指丢了衬衫。它的确切意思是某个人失去了他所有的一切。
eg: "Did you hear what happened to Joe? He's lost his shirt, the poor guy -- invested all his money in a fancy restaurant and it just went out of business."
15. rolls up one's sleeves 做劳力工作之前，怕袖子被弄赃总会先把它卷起来，而roll up one’s sleeves就是“卷起自己衣袖”，即准备做某事。
eg: Well, I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work on these reports.
16. a card up one's sleeve 袖子里的一张牌，表示那是一张不同寻常、能出奇制胜的牌。比喻某人的秘密武器、取胜法宝、绝招。
eg: Although the situation seemed unfavourable to him, he looked perfectly self-assured. He must have a card up his sleeve. 虽然形势看来对他不利，但他看上去胸有成竹。他手中一定有王牌。