Trousers

裤子

Looking back, to around the 16th century, there was once a singular trouser – or, rather, a singular trouse; the –er form was always plural and may have been modelled on ‘drawers’. You might expect trouse to have originally designated a single leg, in much the manner of sleeve, but this is not the case. A trouse was not a world away from modern day trousers, being ‘a close-fitting article of attire for the buttocks and thigh (divided below so as to form a separate covering for each thigh), to the lower extremities of which stockings (when worn) were attached’. But at the same time, trouses was used in its plural form for the same object. Other similar garments are among today’s pluralia tantum: pants, shorts, leggings, jeans, flares, tights, overalls, dungarees etc.


回首过去,在大约16世纪,人们也曾使用过它的单数形式trouser,那时候也写作trouse。以-er结尾的名词通常都用复数形式,这可能是受到drawer(抽屉)的影响。你可能会以为裤子一开始只有一条裤腿,就像sleeve(袖子)一样,但事实却不是这样的。以前的trouse和我们今天的裤子其实也没有什么大不同,都是“紧包臀部和腿部的服装(下端有分叉裹住两条大腿),一直延伸到袜子(如果穿了的话)处”。但是,复数形式的trousers其实也是指的同一事物。还有一些表示衣物的词语,它们也经常以复数形式出现,如pants、shorts、leggings、jeans、flares、tights、overalls、dungarees 等。


Scissors
剪刀

The word scissors dates back to the 15th century, and in its first-known uses appeared either as singular or plural. The latter quickly overtook the former in popularity, and today you are only likely to encounter the singular scissor as a verb or used attributively to form a compound noun such as scissor kick.


Scissor这个单词可以追溯到15世纪,一开始它的单复数形式都被人们拿来使用。但后者很快赢得更多的人气,并取代了前者。今天,只有在scissor作为动词或者作为修饰词来构成复合名词时,如scissor kick, 才使用单数形式。


注:许多其他表示双刃工具的名词也使用复数形式,如pliers,forceps,shears,tweezers,tongs。

Glasses
眼镜

Obviously the singular noun glass exists, but when referring to eyewear, you will only hear about glasses; even the fashion world doesn’t seem yet to have started recommending that people wear a chic glass. The same is true of binoculars, spectacles, and goggles.


很显然,glass作为单数名词确实存在,但涉及到眼镜时,你只会听到人们说的是glasses。甚至连时尚界人士在推荐眼镜时都不会用a chic(别致的)glass。同样情况的单词还有binoculars、spectacles、和goggles。


Clothes
衣服

Looking more broadly in the world of attire, we speak of clothes, but never of a single clothe (a word which exists only as a verb). Cloth exists as a singular noun, but meaning ‘woven or felted fabric, made from wool, cotton, or a similar fibre’, rather than ‘a garment’. This was not always the case. In the late 14th century, cloth could be used to refer to a single garment, robe, or coat; this use is found in Piers Plowman, Wycliffe’s translation of the Psalms, and the works of Chaucer. 


放眼服装界,我们通常都说clothes,而不是它的单数形式clothe(该词只在做动词时用单数)。Cloth作为单数名词,意为“编织或缩绒而成的织物,有羊毛、棉花或类似的纤维制成”,而不是“一件衣服”。但情况并非总是如此。在14世纪末期,cloth意为一件衣服、长袍或大衣。这种用法可以在《农夫皮尔斯》、威克里夫的译作《诗篇》以及乔叟的作品中看到。


Thanks
谢谢

Although the verb thank is common, especially in the exclamation thank you, you wouldn’t give somebody a single thank – unless you happened to be in Ancient Britain and using the Old English thanc, from which the modern word stemmed. Again, the singular was dropped eventually – although examples are found as late as the 19th century.


虽然动词thank 非常普遍,尤其是用在感叹thank you时。但是你不能使用它的单数名词形式,除非是在古代英国,古英语中用作thanc,然而它已从现代英语词汇中删除。于是,虽然直到19世纪还有人使用它的名词单数形式,最终它还是被删除。


Folk

人们

Although there is also the option of folks (often seen in old folks’ home, for instance), folk is also itself exclusively a plural: in current English, you cannot have one folk. The word dates back to Old English, and is of Germanic origin.


虽然也可以加上-s,但folk本身也可以表示复数意义(如old folks’ home养老院)。在现代英语中,folk一般不表示单数意义。该词语始于古英语,从日耳曼英语演化而来。


amends
赔偿

You can make amends but you cannot make an amend; the latter now exists only as a verb. The noun amends comes from the Old French amendes meaning ‘penalties, fine’; in Old French, it was the plural of amende, but only the plural found its way into English.


你可以说make amends,却不能说make amend,因为后者现在只用作动词。名词amends源于古法语amende,意为“处罚,罚款”。在古法语中,amendes是amende的复数形式,但最终只有amendes被引进到英语中。


Marginalia

标注

Pluralia tantumdon’t necessarily end in ‘s’, of course, particularly if they have kept their plural formation from another or an earlier language. Marginalia – ‘notes written in the margins of a text’ – comes from Latin, which also had the singular marginalis. The singular did not make its way into English, however, and thus marginalia joins the ranks of pluralia tantum, where it is joined by other Latin borrowings including juvenilia (‘works produced by an author or artist while still young’) and literati (well-educated people who are interested in literature). Some words which follow a similar pattern and are most commonly used as plurals (paraphernalia and regalia, for instance) can actually also be used in the singular.


  
经常以复数形式出现的名词并不代表着它们一定会以-s结尾,尤其是当它们的复数形式是源于外来语或者早期语言时。Marginalia意为“文章空白处所做的注释”,源自拉丁语。它的单数形式为marginalis,却并没有引入到英语中去。但是,marginalia则成为经常以复数形式出现的名词,一起的拉丁引进词还有juvenilia(青少年创作的作品)和literati(对文学感兴趣的受过良好教育的人)。还有一些类似的词语(如paraphernalia 和regalia),虽是单数形式,却表复数意思。


Shenanigans

恶作剧

Pluralia tantum needn’t be tangible objects; shenanigans is commonly held to be an example. The word is of uncertain origin, and means ‘secret or dishonest activity or manoeuvring’ or ‘silly or high-spirited behaviour; mischief’. The singular shenanigan is not in common use, and is not included in OxfordDictionaries.com, but the history of shenanigans actually follows the same pattern as clothes, albeit over a shorter period. The earliest known example of the word is from an 1855 article in Town Talk: ‘Are you quite sure? No shenanigan?’. This usage is found in various sources, including the letters of Mark Twain, throughout the late-19th and early-20th centuries; in recent years, it has fallen out of use almost completely.


经常以复数形式出现的名词并不都是那些有形物体。Shenanigans就是一个常见的例子。该词语来源尚未明确,意为“秘密进行的或欺骗性的活动、部署”,“愚蠢或兴致勃勃的行为”。单数形式的shenanigan并不常用,而且也未被收入牛津词典。但是Shenanigans一词的起源和clothes一样,都是只在一个较短的时期里被使用。最早发现这个单词是在1855年,刊登在Town Talk上的一篇文章中:”Are you quite sure? No shenanigan?”后来这个用法被普遍采用,包括19世纪末20世纪初的马克·吐温的信件中。然而近年来,人们已经不怎么使用了。


Loggerheads

笨蛋

Pluralia tantum needn’t be tangible objects; shenanigans is commonly held to be an example. The word is of uncertain origin, and means ‘secret or dishonest activity or manoeuvring’ or ‘silly or high-spirited behaviour; mischief’. The singular shenanigan is not in common use, and is not included in OxfordDictionaries.com, but the history of shenanigans actually follows the same pattern as clothes, albeit over a shorter period. The earliest known example of the word is from an 1855 article in Town Talk: ‘Are you quite sure? No shenanigan?’. This usage is found in various sources, including the letters of Mark Twain, throughout the late-19th and early-20th centuries; in recent years, it has fallen out of use almost completely.


经常以复数形式出现的名词并不都是那些有形物体。Shenanigans就是一个常见的例子。该词语来源尚未明确,意为“秘密进行的或欺骗性的活动、部署”,“愚蠢或兴致勃勃的行为”。单数形式的shenanigan并不常用,而且也未被收入牛津词典。但是Shenanigans一词的起源和clothes一样,都是只在一个较短的时期里被使用。最早发现这个单词是在1855年,刊登在Town Talk上的一篇文章中:”Are you quite sure? No shenanigan?”后来这个用法被普遍采用,包括19世纪末20世纪初的马克·吐温的信件中。然而近年来,人们已经不怎么使用了。


Cahoots

同伙

Speaking of phrases, you’re unlikely to hear about cahoots outside of the informal phrase in cahoots (‘colluding or conspiring together secretly’), and you won’t discover a single cahoot in current English, although the word was once used that way. The etymology is uncertain, but a link has been suggested with the French cahute, meaning ‘hut, shack’.


提到短语,除了非正式的in cahoots(一起秘密勾结或谋划),你可能不会碰到其他的相关短语。在现代英语中,也没有cahoots的单数形式,虽然它也曾被人们使用过。Cahoots一词的来源尚不明确,但人们认为它与法语词cahute有关,该词意为“小屋,棚室”。


Smithereens

碎片,碎屑

Probably from the Irish smidirín, smithereens means ‘small pieces’ (almost invariably in the context of destruction; the table got smashed to smithereens, for example). Smithers is also used, but you will not find smither or smithereen in the singular – although the transitive verb smithereen (‘to smash or blow up into tiny fragments’) is included in the OED.


Smithereens一词可能与源自爱尔兰语smidirín,它意为“小片”(遭到毁坏,例如:the table got smashed to smithereens桌子被毁成了碎片)。Smithers虽然也被人们使用,但你不会看到人们用它的单数形式smither 和smithereen,虽然smithereen作为及物动词(意为“打成或炸成碎片”)已被收入牛津词典。

声明:本双语文章的中文翻译系沪江英语原创内容,转载请注明出处。中文翻译仅代表译者个人观点,仅供参考。如有不妥之处,欢迎指正。