August 14, 2008

#01-148: Reading Boomtown Chronicles 20

wide view of an urban area with bushes in the foreground, over which is written "READING BOOMTOWN CHRONICLES"
Shenzhen, the Boomtown

Note: Between Lesson #01-128 and #01-207, I wrote 72 lessons explaining expressions in articles published in the Shenzhen Daily. Read more about "Reading Boomtown Chronicles."

Get Ready: Do you like riding on roller coasters? What's the scariest you've ever been on?

Boomtown Chronicles Part VIII - published Monday, August 4, 2008 (cont.)

  • customers were " sardines."

sardines: a type of canned fish. This well-known simile refers to the way they are packed tightly in the can to use all the available space.

  • There were fears of opening "floodgates to a glut of new stocks."

floodgates: a mechanism used to control water, such as in a dam. "Opening the floodgates" means releasing a large amount of water at once--a dangerous practice unless properly controlled.

glut: a situation when supply exceeds demand, which usually drives prices downward. The word is from an old French word meaning "to eat greedily." (The sin of overeating is called "gluttony," and one who does it is a "glutton.")

  • The China Securities Supervisory Commission is called a "market watchdog."

watchdog: the protector of a home or shop. The commission observed the parties involved in the market to protect them from abuse.

  • the "mania" of 1992 was "dubbed 'growing pains' for the fledging stock market..."

dub: to give a name to something, often officially, as when a king "dubs" a knight with a new name. It's derived from a word meaning "to hit," as the king would strike the knight on the shoulder when he dubbed him. These days, we use the word more casually to mean simply "called."

growing pains: the aches and pains experienced by a growing child, especially around the time of puberty when many young people experience "growth spurts," gaining height rapidly.

fledgling: a baby bird whose feathers have just grown enough to allow him to fly; thus a "fledgling" is new and inexperienced. We also use the word "full-fledged" to describe someone who is in good standing, as a "full-fledged member" of a club.

  • the operation of the stock market is described as experiencing "roller-coaster rides."

roller-coaster rides: amusements that take one up, down, up, down--very rapidly. It's exciting, just like the experience of "gambling" on a stock exchange.


Read more:

Practice: Choose the correct term to fill in the blank in the sentence below:

  1. dub
  2. fledgling
  3. floodgates
  4. glut
  5. growing pains
  6. roller-coaster rides
  7. sardines
  8. watchdog

  1. The excellent growing season resulted in a ________ of fresh vegetables in the markets.
  2. What shall we ________ the new liberal arts building?
  3. They had a pretty good first year for a ________ enterprise.
  4. Geez! That subway car was so crowded, we felt like ________!
  5. After experiencing some ________, the two-year-old company really started doing well.
  6. We need to develop a stable income; I can't take too many more of these financial ________.
  7. We need to comply with all the rules if we want to satisfy the regulatory ________.
  8. The new type of computer chip opened the ________ for innovation.

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for August 14, 2008

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. b; 2. c; 3. h; 4. a; 5. e; 6. f; 7. d; 8. g