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put in one's two cents' worth



This expression meaning "to contribute one's opinion" dates from the late nineteenth century.  Bo Bradham suggested that it came from "the days of $.02 postage.  To 'put one's two cents' worth in' referred to the cost of a letter to the editor, the president, or whomever was deserving".   According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the first-class postal rate was 2 cents an ounce between 1883 and 1932 (with the exception of a brief period during World War I).  This OED citation confirms that two-cent stamps were once common:  "1902 ELIZ. L. BANKS Newspaper Girl xiv, Dinah got a letter through the American mail.  She had fivepence to pay on it, because only a common two-cent stamp had been stuck on it."  On the other hand, "two-cent" was an American expression for "of little value" (similar to British "twopenny-halfpenny"), so the phrase may simply have indicated the writer's modesty about the value of his contribution.

来源:http://alt-usage-english.org

这个短语的意思是“提出某人的见解”,它始于十九世纪末期。Bo Bradham认为它来自于“the days of $.02 postage(邮资两分钱的日子)。短语put one's two cents' worth in指的是给编辑、总统或任何值得的人写一封信的费用。”根据《大不列颠百科全书》所述,在1883年至1932年间一等邮政资费是每盎司两分钱(一战时有很短一段时期例外)。以下这个《牛津英语大词典》的引文证实两分钱的邮票曾经是很普遍的:“1902年伊丽莎白·班克斯的《新闻女郎》第十四章,黛娜收到美国邮政的一封信。她支付了五便士,因为只有一张普通的两分钱邮票贴在上面。”另一方面,“two-cent”是美语对于“of little value(价值甚少)”的一种表达(类似于英国英语中的“twopenny-halfpenny”),因此这个短语可能也暗指作者对于他的投稿价值的一种谦虚。

(翻译:大卫)

 

 

发布日期:2010-12-26    阅读 2528 次   
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