Precipitate, precipitous (adjs.), precipitately, precipitously (advs.)

Precipitate 意為「輕率的;魯莽的;倉促的;突然的」(rash, abrupt, hasty, sudden),如 The President made a rather precipitate departure. (總統相當倉促地離開了);They acted with precipitate haste. (他們魯莽倉促地採取行動);precipitate action (魯莽/輕率的舉動)。precipitous 意為「險峻的,陡峭的;急劇的」(steep),可表示字面和比喻的意思,如 A precipitous path led down the cliff. (懸崖往下有一條陡峭的小路);She did not dare to bike down the precipitous slope. (她不敢騎著腳踏車衝下陡峭的斜坡);a precipitous drop in commodity prices (商品價格急劇滑落);a precipitous decline in population (人口驟降)。

Precipitous 除上述意思外也意為「輕率的;魯莽的;倉促的;突然的」;換言之,就此意思而言,precipitate 和 precipitous 是同義詞,如 Their precipitous entry into the foreign markets ended in disaster. (他們之輕率進入外國市場以徹底失敗收場)。這兩個形容詞的副詞 precipitately 和 precipitously 同樣具有上述不同和重疊的意思。然而,precipitous 和 precipitously 之身兼雙義有時會造成意思的模稜兩可,如 a precipitous drop in interest rates 是「利率突然下降」還是「利率急劇下降」或兩者兼而有之呢?

雖然大多數字典都已接受並收錄 precipitous 和 precipitously 的「輕率的(地);魯莽的(地);倉促的(地);突然的(地)」意思,但許多人仍反對這項用法,原因當然是為了使 precipitate 和 precipitous以及 precipitately 和 precipitously 的意思有所區別。儘管 precipitous 和 precipitously 的這項延伸意思已被諸多聲譽卓著的作家不次應用在他們的作品中,但如果有人引用您自己的寫作並註解為「原文錯誤 (原文如此)」(sic) 時,那也不足為奇。所以,在使用 precipitous 和 precipitously 來表達這項意思時,應在上下文多下點功夫以防意思模稜兩可。

Precipitate 也可當名詞和動詞用,前者意為「(化學中的) 沈澱物」,後者意為「使 (尤指壞事) 突然發生,加快促成;猛摔,猛拋;使突然陷入 (某種狀態 — 通常與介系詞 into 連用);使沈澱」,如 Such headaches can be precipitated by food as well as stress. (這類頭痛會因為食物和壓力而猝發);Fears about the solvency of the banks precipitated the great economic crash. (對銀行償付能力的擔憂更加速了經濟的崩潰);The car overturned and precipitated us into the ditch. (車子翻了,我們被摔進了溝裡);The company was precipitated into ruin when the exchange rate dropped. (匯率下降時,公司一下子破產倒閉了);The border incident precipitated the two countries into war. (邊界事件把兩國突然推向戰爭)。

將本文加入書籤.

發表迴響