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 research team was stumped by the experiment’s results until they realized the tested mice came from the batch of animals containing the mutant strain.”

In many pioneering places, pioneers felled trees and constructed their rudimentary homes with the logs. Most of these settlers were either ranchers or farmers; in any case, as they developed their properties, they proceeded to remove the stumps left from the log-felling. The rooted portion of the tree was dug around and chopped with axes before being pulled out with a team of livestock. Sometimes the stumps resisted all efforts to dislodge them and had to be dynamited. When a settler was unable to uproot and haul away a stump, he was said to be “stumped.”
在許多墾殖地,拓荒者會砍伐樹木,用木材建造簡陋的房子。他們多半從事農牧業,要進一步墾殖時,便會著手移除砍樹後留下的樹樁 (stump);首先在深植土壤的根系附近挖掘,用斧頭砍伐,再用牲口將樹樁拉起。有時用盡各種方法,樹樁還是絲毫不動,得用炸藥去炸。若開墾者無法掘起、拔出樹樁,就代表他 “stumped”(遇到阻礙了)。

The research team also experienced failure as it interpreted the results of its experiment. The results didn’t square with the team’s expectations and it couldn’t discover why. Team members were “stumped” or stymied by the test results, and failure to understand the results of a controlled experiment does not help advance a scientific cause. Finally, the team realized that the test animals were not the intended ones and the confusion was cleared up. Imagery that enlivens language without falling into the category of cliché always is welcome in academic papers.
本句中,研究小組解釋實驗結果時,也同樣遇到問題,實驗結果和預期不符,但無法解釋。實驗結果讓研究小組 “stumped”(遇到阻礙),他們無法理解對照實驗的結果,找出科學的解釋。最後,研究小組終於發現實驗動物不符研究標準,解決了疑惑。學術論文中,應該多用這類活絡語言的想像力,避免落入俗套的窠臼。

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