Wed, Aug 10, 2016 - Page 15 News List

USING IDIOMS
活用成語

A horse statue is pictured in Taipei on Aug 3.
一座駿馬雕像,八月三日攝於台北。

Photo: Paul Cooper, Taipei Times
照片:台北時報記者古德謙攝

害群之馬 (hai4 qun2 zhi1 ma3)

害群之馬的概念源自於莊子外篇的「徐無鬼」。文中,黃帝與一名牧馬童子談論治國的道理,說:「夫為天下者,亦奚以異乎牧馬者哉?亦去其害馬者而已矣。」(國家統治者要遵循的原則跟牧馬有什麼不同呢?沒什麼差別,就是除去對馬群不好的事物而已。)其後演變出害群之馬這個成語,用來比喻任何以個人言行傷害到群體的人。

我們都受不了了,不願讓這個害群之馬繼續留在我們社區裡。

(We’ve had enough. We don’t want this trouble-maker to remain in our community.)

我覺得他是個害群之馬,千萬不要和他打交道。

(He’s a bit of a black sheep, that one. I wouldn’t have anything to do with him if I were you.)

Loose cannon; black sheep; trouble-maker

The Chinese idiom 害群之馬 literally means “the horse that harms the herd,” and can usefully be compared to the English “loose cannon,” “black sheep of the family,” or “trouble-maker.” We can describe the sort of person that is unpredictable or uncontrollable, to the extent that they could well cause damage to those around them, as a loose cannon. The “black sheep of the family” is generally a member of an otherwise upright, reputable or well-brought-up family with a character that is, for whatever reason, frowned upon by others, and is regarded as the exception, rather than the rule, in that family. The word “trouble-maker” is pretty self-explanatory.

The original reference to the horse that would harm the herd was actually in one of the Miscellaneous Chapters of the teachings of ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zi (莊子), in which the writer compares herding horses to governing a country. All that a ruler need do, he says, is to discard all that would harm the populace.

We don’t really talk about Keith. He’s kind of the black sheep of the family.

(我們不太談到凱斯,他算是家裡的害群之馬。)

Could you please rein him in a bit? He’s a bit of a loose cannon.

(可以請你管一下他嗎?他也太肆無忌憚了。)

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