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字典中的10大热词

Business Insider 2017年10月09日

在英语中,哪些是人们查阅最多的词?答案可能出人意料。

如果你碰到一个词,不知道它的意思,显然会去做一件事:查字典。

有些词往往更容易难住我们,美国权威字典韦氏词典就提供了例证,列出了用户在旗下在线字典查阅最频繁的十个词。

在英语中,哪些是人们查阅最多的词?答案可能出人意料。比方说,你不会去查一些非常晦涩难解的科学术语,因为根本没有多少人知道这些词,更谈不上费劲去查了。

韦氏词典的编纂者科瑞·斯坦普尔告诉美国财经科技新闻网站Business Insider,人们查阅最多的 “语言方面的拦路虎”,它们很常见,但总是让读者困惑。

以下就是韦氏词典统计的十大查阅最频繁词语:

自命不凡(Pretentious)

如果有人不靠谱地说自己有多重要、多了不起、多有名气,或者夸大自己的重要性、价值或者名望,那这人就是自命不凡。现实生活中,有的人非精酿啤酒不喝,有的人自认为开丰田的油电混合动力车普锐斯特别环保,他们就属于这类自命不凡的人。

无处不在(Ubiquitous)

无处不在用来描述某种事物很普及常见,比如电视和快餐。

愤世嫉俗(Cynical)

如果有人不相信别人的动机,或者认为人类的行为大多是自私之举,那就是愤世嫉俗的人。这种人可能质疑别人为什么帮自己,怀疑别人这么做的真正目的不是想帮忙。

无动于衷(Apathetic)

简单来说,假如你不在意某件事,那就是无动于衷了。这个词和“冷漠”是同义词。

棘手难题(Conundrum)

这个词是指那种错综复杂的难题。韦氏词典认为,它常用于描述看似不可能解答的道德、社会学和经济学问题,但也泛指一切谜团或者神秘事物。

纵然(Albeit)

当你想说即便只是在小镇上过了一晚,也是很奢华、花费不菲的,可以用这个词替代“即便如此”。

模棱两可(Ambiguous)

说一件事模棱两可,是指它至少有两种角度理解意思都说得通。比如“the peasants are revolting”这句英文就是模棱两可的,因为它可能是说农民要造反,也可能想说农民让人厌恶。我们需要多些信息确定哪种才是真正要表达的意思。

节操(Integrity)

说一个人有节操,是指此人有一套严格遵循的价值观。比如我们希望领导人处事有德行,而一些作品热卖的音乐家可能为了媚俗而牺牲了自己的艺术操守,因此受到批评。

影响(Affect/Effect)

如果单说词义,大家并不是搞不清楚影响的意思。可是,在使用同样表达影响这个意思的两个英文词affect和effect时,的确有些不同。最容易区分的解释是,前者通常是动词,后者常用作名词。比如天气可以影响人的心情,在这句话里要用affect。我们说一项新政可能产生毁灭性的影响,那就要用effect。

爱(Love)

这个词至少字面上看一点也不难理解。但如果必须解释一下,你能说情究竟什么是爱吗?韦氏词典推测,这就是很多人需要查字典了解这个词的原因。不管怎样,在韦氏词典上,爱的定义只是“出于亲缘关系或者个人关系,对他人产生强烈的好感”或者“基于性欲的吸引力”。(财富中文网)

本文首发于美国财经科技新闻网站BusinessInsider.com。

译者:Pessy

审稿:夏林

When you don't know the meaning of a word, there's one obvious place to turn: the dictionary.

Naturally, some words tend to confuse people more than others, as evidenced by Merriam-Webster's list of the 10 most looked-up words in its online dictionary.

So what are the most sought-after definitions in the English language? Probably not what you expect. You won't find hyper-obscure scientific terms, for example, because not enough people know them to bother looking them up.

Rather, the most looked-up words are ones that are "middle of the road linguistically" — common enough to perpetually perplex readers, as Merriam-Webster lexicographer Kory Stamper told Business Insider.

Here are the 10 most looked-up words and their definitions:

Pretentious

Someone is pretentious if they express unwarranted or exaggerated importance, worth, or stature. Think beer snobs or Prius drivers, as the stereotypes go.

Ubiquitous

Ubiquitous is used to describe something that is widespread and constantly encountered, like television or fast food.

Cynical

Someone is cynical if they are distrustful of people's motives, or believe that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest. A cynical person might question why you offer to do them a favor, thinking to themselves, "what do they really want?"

Apathetic

Simply put, you're apathetic if you don't care about something. A synonym for apathetic is "indifferent."

Conundrum

A conundrum is an intricate and difficult problem. According to Merriam-Webster, it's often used to describe seemingly unanswerable questions involving ethics, sociology, and economics, but it can also refer generally to any puzzle or mystery.

Albeit

Albeit is a one-word substitute for "even though," like when you describe an extravagant, albeit expensive, night on the town.

Ambiguous

Something that is ambiguous can be understood in two or more possible ways. For example, the sentence "the peasants are revolting" is ambiguous, because it could mean the peasants are rebelling in the streets, or that they are physically disgusting. We need more information to clear up the ambiguity.

Integrity

Integrity is the firm adherence to a code of values. We expect our leaders to act with moral integrity, for example, and musicians who "sell out" might get criticized for compromising their artistic integrity.

Affect/Effect

The definitions of these words aren't confusing, but remembering when to use each one can sure be tricky. A good rule of thumb is that "affect" is usually a verb and "effect" is usually a noun. The weather can affect your mood, and a new policy can have a devastating effect.

Love

OK, so this one isn't confusing at all, at least when taken at face value. But what exactly is love, if you had to explain it? Merriam-Webster speculates it's that exact question that drives so many people to look up "love" in the dictionary. For what it's worth, the dictionary defines love as "strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties" or "attraction based on sexual desire."

This article originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com

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