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 lead ballet dancer maintained his graceful arabesque as the company of female dancers pirouetted around him like spintops in a toy store window.”

Spintops, or tops, are toys that entrance children with their ability to maintain their equilibrium while turning rapidly in place. The technical wizardry of the simple toy is keyed to gyroscopic principles that were scientifically explained in the 19th century, but as a toy it has been around since ancient times. What is intriguing, especially to young people, is the spintop’s ability to turn so rapidly in place that it almost appears to be standing unmoving. It is mass- produced in a variety of forms today and spinning is induced in a variety of ways.

The pirouette is one of the better known ballet movements. In it, a dancer elevates to a vertical position on the toe of one ballet shoe, drawing up the other leg and placing the raised foot next to the supporting leg as the spin begins. In comparing pirouetting dancers to spintops, the writer draws upon the universal familiarity with tops to describe the less familiar action of the dancers. That the tops are said to be spinning in a toy store window helps to convey the impression of public performance. Using the familiar to depict the unfamiliar is a good writing habit.
趾尖旋轉 (pirouette) 則是一種常見的芭蕾舞姿。表演時,舞者抽身直立,踮著一腳的腳趾,提起另一腳靠著支撐腳,開始旋轉。本句將進行趾尖旋轉的舞者比喻為陀螺,用大家普遍熟悉的陀螺,形容較陌生的舞姿。文中提到陀螺在玩具店櫥窗旋轉,也傳達了公開表演的感覺。用熟悉描寫不熟悉是寫作的好習慣。

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