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I'm Susan Clark with the Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.
The Italians have an old saying, "Il dolce far niente." The words mean it is sweet, or enjoyable, to do nothing.
On weekends and during holidays, many of us enjoy doing nothing. But most of the time we have to work. And, to keep our jobs, we must work hard. Our employer will not like it if we do nothing.
American workers often call their employers bosses. The word boss comes from the Dutch word, baas, meaning master.
Sometimes company bosses are called the brass. They also are sometimes called top brass, or brass hats.
Experts disagree about how these strange expressions started. But, they may have come from Britain. Leaders of the nineteenth century British army wore pieces of metal called oak leaves on their hats. The metal, brass, has a color similar to that of gold. So a leader or commander came to be called a member of the brass. Or he might have been called a brass hat. Or, even the top brass.
By the nineteen forties, the expression had spread beyond military leaders. It also included civilian officials.
A newspaper in the American city of Philadelphia used the term in nineteen forty-nine. It called the most important police officials, top brass.
Other expressions that mean boss or employer have nothing to do with brass or hats. One of these is big cheese. A cheese is a solid food made from milk.
The expression probably started in America in the late nineteenth century. Some experts believe it comes from a word in the Uersian or urdu languages -- chiz. The meaning is a thing. So the meaning of big cheese may be a big thing.
Other experts say the word cheese in this expression was really an incorrect way of saying chief. The word chief means leader. So the expression may mean big leader.
An employer usually does not object to being called boss. But most workers would not call their employers big cheeses, top brass or brass hats to their faces. These words are not really insulting. But neither do they show great respect.
Employers also have expressions to describe their workers. One of them that describes a good worker is that he or she works like a Trojan.
This expression probably comes from the ancient writings of the Greek poet Homer. He wrote about the Trojans who lived in the city of Troy. He said Trojans worked very hard to protect their city.
Now, the expression often is used to describe an employee who works hard for a company. A loyal, hard-working employee is said to work like a Trojan.
So be happy if your company's brass hats say you work like a Trojan. They may consider you valuable enough to increase your pay.
意大利有句俗语叫“Il dolce far niente”。这句话的意思是什么也不干简直太舒服或太快乐了。
有时，公司的老板被称为黄铜（brass）。他们有时又被称为是最顶级的黄铜（top brass，或黄铜帽子（brass hats），它们都是高管的意思。
这个短语可能起源于19世纪后期的美国。一些专家认为这个词来源于波斯语或乌尔都语" chiz”，意思是一件东西。所以big cheese的意思可能是一件大东西。
雇主通常并不反对被称作boss。但是大多数的员工不会当面叫老板大人物（big cheeses），高官（top brass）或高级将领（brass hats）。
雇主们也有形容他们员工的短语。其中形容好员工的一个短语就是他或她"works like a Trojan（像特洛伊人一般努力工作）"。
现在，这个短语经常被用来形容努力工作的公司员工。忠诚、勤劳的员工被称作"work like a Trojan”。
所以如果你的公司老板说你"work like a Trojan”，你应该感到高兴。他们可能认为你很有价值，应该给你加薪。