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 temporary result of the experiment was a loss of motor control, with the guinea pigs corkscrewing their way along the penned-in area.”

A corkscrew is a piece of metallic wire or rod that is twisted into a tight spiral shape. It is sharpened at one end and fitted with a handle at the other. The sharp end is punched into a cork sealing a bottle and the handle then turned until the corkscrew digs into the cork and obtains a firm purchase. By pulling upward on the corkscrew, the cork can be popped free from the bottleneck. The device dates at least from the late 18th century, when variations of it began to be patented. Though popularly used on wine bottles, its use predates corking of bottled wine.

In describing the movement of the enfeebled animals as “corkscrewing,” the writer was not referring to the circular rotation of a corkscrew as it buries itself in a cork. Rather, the reference was to the side-to-side, anything-but-straight course the plane of a corkscrew follows. In the same way, the guinea pigs weaved back and forth as they tried to walk on legs that were betrayed by the affected nerves and muscle. The word conjures an image of lurching and stumbling animals winding their way forward, almost comically. In a word, “corkscrewing” says a lot.
本句話描述喪失動作控制能力的天竺鼠,以 “corkscrewing” 來描寫,並非指螺絲錐鑽入瓶蓋時螺旋狀打轉的動作,而是指其曲曲折折,歪歪扭扭的行進路線。同樣的,天竺鼠腿部的神經與肌肉因為試驗而不聽使喚,行進路線也是歪歪斜斜。這個字讓人聯想到步履蹣跚的天竺鼠曲折前進,感覺有點滑稽。“Corkscrewing” 簡單一個字就很生動。

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