蛋(egg)在英语中跟怂恿某人干某事有何相干?

Dear Prof. Zheng,


Each day we eat eggs and I do know there are some idioms with the word "egg". Here are some sentences that I know:

  1. He is a bad egg.

    2. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

   3. He got egg on his face.


In Sentence 1, I understand that he is not a nice person. In Sentence 2, I know that it warns people not to put all their effort or resources into doing one thing, or if it fails, they have no alternatives left. And as far as I am concerned, Sentence 3 means he looked foolish or embarrassed in public.


But, can you help me explain why the phrase "to egg sb on to do sth" means "to urge or encourage (someone) to do something" that is usually foolish or dangerous?


Warm regards,

Ada

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Dear Ada, 

Thank you for your question.To egg someone on (to do sth) is an idiom with an interesting origin. As you may know, an idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of to egg someone on (to do sth), where this phrase came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

 

As a matter of fact, this expression has nothing to do with hen's eggs, but comes from an Old Norse word, eggja, “to edge.” Both edge on and egg on were used interchangeably, but today the latter is preferred. To be more specific, this phrase means to incite a person to take a course of action, to encourage someone to do something, especially something socially unacceptable, something criminal or something dangerous. This phrase usually carries a negative connotation.  For your more information, I have checked that the idiom to egg someone on first appeared in the mid-1500s. Related phrases are eggs someone on, egged someone on, egging someone on. Here are some synonyms:abet, incite and instigate.


尊敬的郑教授,

    每天我们都吃鸡蛋,我知道有些成语中有“鸡蛋”这个词。以下是我知道的一些句子:

  1. He is a bad egg.

    2. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

   3. He got egg on his face.


   在第一句中,我知道句子的意思是他不是一个好人。在第二句中,我知道这个句子告诫人们不要把所有的精力或资源都投入到一件事上,否则如果失败了,他们就别无选择了。就我而言,第三句的意思是他在公众面前丢脸或出丑 。


   我想问问您,是否能帮助我解释一下为什么“to egg on sb to do sth”这个短语的意思是怂恿或鼓励(某人)做通常愚蠢或危险的事?

    即颂

敬礼!


艾达
~~~~~~~
亲爱的艾达,

谢谢你的问题。To egg on sb to do sth是一个有趣起源的成语。也许你知道,习语是一个词、一个组词或短语组成的,其比喻意义不容易从字面意义推断出来。我们一起来看一看“to egg on sb to do sth”的定义,这个短语的来源以及它在句子中的一些用法。

事实上,这一表达法与鸡蛋本身无关,而是来自一个古老的挪威语单词eggja,“to edge”。edge-on和egg-on都可以互换使用,但如今后者更受欢迎。更具体地说,这个短语的意思是煽动一个人采取行动,鼓励某人做某事,特别是做一些社会上不可接受的事情,一些犯罪或危险的事情。这个短语通常带有否定的含义。为了向你提供更多的参考信息,我查了一下,这个说法最初是在16世纪中期出现的。相关短语有:eggs someone on, egged someone on, egging someone on。同义词:abet, incite和instigate.

Here are some examples for your reference.


1. The girl walked along the top of a narrow uneven wall, seemingly not worried about the 30ft drop below her, after being egged on by a group of three friends who watched from the ground.[Jordan Seward; Daily Mail Jun 1 2020]


2. Mr Hulme joked he would throw Thomson’s shoe out of the window, egged on by another passenger who shouted ‘Go on, I dare you’. (The Evening Standard)


3. Too many investors, egged on by the financial services industry, focus on returns without thinking enough about risk, he says, arguing investors have been lulled into believing more risk assures higher returns, while higher risk really just means a greater range of possible results. (U.S. News & World Report)


这里有一些例子供你参考。

1. 三个朋友的怂恿下,这个女孩沿着一堵狭窄不平的墙顶行走,似乎并不担心下面30英尺的落差。三个朋友在地上看着她。

2.Hulme先生开玩笑说,在另一名乘客的怂恿下,他会把汤姆森的鞋子扔出窗外,而另一名乘客则大喊“加油,我敢打赌”。

3. 他说,在金融服务业的怂恿下,太多的投资者只关注回报,而没有充分考虑风险。他辩称,投资者被误导,认为风险越高,回报越高,而风险越高,可能产生的结果范围就越大。




I hope this will help you understand the phrase better. 


Regards

Zheng


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