What does that mean? 你真的瞭解這個慣用語嗎?
Imagery buries itself in language and takes on new meaning. The transplanted and transformed sets of words are called “figures of speech.” For a figure of speech to be effective, however, a writer must first understand the original meaning of the phrase. The following sentence contains a common figure of speech. Its original meaning is explained.

“The young idealist, stunned by the slush fund revelations about the president, felt his idealism evaporating in a fetid swirl of disgust.”

A “slush fund” is a term rooted in nautical lore. It refers to the fat skimmed from the top of a vat of meat boiled by the ship’s cook. The slushy fat was emptied into a cask and allowed to accumulate. When a ship reached port, the fatty refuse was sold as cooking oil. Any money derived from the sale usually was spent on the crew. Because it was a byproduct of an ongoing activity—cooking—the slush and the money derived from its sale was a benefit that didn’t appear on the books as an expense and, therefore, was deemed to be legitimate bonus pay.
“Slush fund”(油水、福利金、賄款)一詞源自航海的傳聞,是指船上廚師每次做飯時,從大鍋肉表面撇取的油脂,這些油水收集起來放到大桶中,等船靠港就拿去販賣,作為烹調用油,所得通常歸船員所有。因為這些油渣是每天煮飯的附加收益,不會記在帳簿上,所以被視為正當的額外福利。

The modern usage of the term, as in the example sentence, has taken on the more rancid characteristics of the fat-cooking residue. A slush fund now connotes something furtively collected, money misdirected and set aside for personal use from a larger fund. Unlike the original fat-skimming aboard ship, it suggests a sly dipping into a pool of money for corruptive purposes. So the idealist in question had his eyes opened. That his idealism disappeared in “a fetid swirl of disgust” nicely recreates the smelly nature of the original meat-boiling activity.
這個詞組的現代用法,如本句所示範,更為強調油渣腐敗酸臭的特色。如今,”slush fund”與船上所撇取脂肪的原意不同,而是暗指私下搜括的物資,從大筆金額中私自挪用的款項,指為了貪腐賄賂,暗中對一大筆錢上下其手。句中理想主義者驚訝之餘,理想主義消失在 “a fetid swirl of disgust”(令人厭惡的腐臭漩渦)中,巧妙重現了原意中煮肉的腐臭。

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