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Source: Voice of America


Now, the VOA Special English program "Words and their stories".


Most people enjoy working for several reasonstheir job might be fun, or they like their employer and the other people at work. Most people I know, however, work for the money. I do not know anyone who is "loaded" – or extremely rich.

be loaded with money: tener dinero para dar y regalar, estar podrido de dinero, tener dinero para empapelar, tener dinero a punta pala;


Most of my friends work to earn enough money to live. They have to "make ends meet" – they have to earn enough money to pay for the things they need. Some even live "from hand to mouth" –  they only have enough money for the most important things.

make (both) ends meet: llegar a final de mes, subsistir a duras penas (literalmente: unir ambos extremos del mes); from hand to mouth: necesidad, apuro económico, gastar todo el salario en necesidades de sustento (literalmente: de la mano a la boca);


They struggle to earn enough money to "bring home the bacon" – it can be difficult to earn enough money for a family to survive. Sometimes, poor people even "get caught short" – they do not have enough money to pay for what they need.

bring home the bacon: mantener a la familia, traer el pan a casa, ganarse el pan (literalmente: ganarse las habichuelas, ganarse los garbanzos, ganarse las lentejas, traer el tocino a casa); get caught short: se quedan cortos de dinero;


Or they have to spend or "lay out" more money than they want for something. When this happens, poor people have to "tighten their belts" and live on less money than usual. I hate when I have to live on less money. It takes me longer to get "back on my feet" – or return to good financial health.

lay out: gastar (dinero); tighten their belts: controlar los gastos (literal: ajustarse o apretarse los cinturones); back on my feet: salir a flote, salir adelante (financieramente);


However, other people are "on the gravy train" – they get paid more money than their job is worth. These people "make a bundle" – they really "rake in the cash". In fact, they make so much money that they can "live high off the hog" – they own the best of everything and live in great ease. Sometimes they "pay an arm and a leg" for something.

to be on the gravy train: subirse al tren (de la abundancia), aprovechar una oportunidad pasajera, sacar provecho del chollo (gravy: literalmente, dinero fácil); make a bundle: ganar un pastón, obtener mucho dinero (bundle: literalmente, fardo); rake in the cash: ganar en abundancia (literalmente, hacer pasta a punta pala, juntar el dinero con un rastrillo); live live high off the hog: darse la gran vida, vivir muy bien (literalmente, vivir por encima de los cerdos o marranos); pay an arm and a leg: pagar un ojo de la cara, pagar el oro y el moro, pagar un dineral (literalmente, pagar un brazo y una pierna);


Because "money is no object" to wealthy people, they will pay high prices for whatever they want. Sometimes, they even "pay through the nose" – they pay too much for things. I am not rich. I did not "make a killing" in the stock market when my stocks increased in value.

money is no object: el dinero no es problema, el precio es lo de menos; pay through the nose: pagar demasiado, pagar un precio exorbitante (literalmente, expresa ser llevado de la nariz (nose) para comprar compulsivamente); make a killing: hacer un gran negocio, forrarse;


Yet, I am not poor either. When I go out with friends, I do not want to "shell out"  – or pay a lot of money. Often, my friends and I will "chip in" – or pay jointly for a fun night out. When we go to restaurants, the meal is "Dutch treat" – each person pays his or her own share.

shell out: desembolsar dinero, soltar la pasta de la billetera (literalmente, shell out significa pelar, quitar la cáscara de un fruto seco); chip in: recolectar dinero para hacer un gasto en conjunto, hacer una vaca (literalmente, en el póquer colocar las fichas (chips) de cada uno sobre la mesa); Dutch treat: convite a escote, convite a la inglesa (cada uno paga lo que consume);


Once, the owner of a restaurant gave us a dinner "on the house" – we did not have to pay for our meals. However, I admit that we had to "grease someone’s palm" – we had to pay money to the employee who led us to our table. The money was for a special request. Yes, it was a "buy-off" – the employee put us at the top of the list for a table instead of making us wait like everyone else. We had a great time that night and the meal did not "set me back" at all – I did not have to pay anything.

on the house: por cuenta de la casa, la casa invita, pagado por el dueño; grease someone’s palm:  sobornar, coimear (literalmente, untar la mano de alguien); buy-off: soborno, coima; did not set me back: no me costó;


Because of that experience, I will always remember that nice things still happen in a world that is "driven by money". But, that is "just my two cents worth" – it is just my opinion.

is driven by money: tiene avidez por el dinero, está gobernado por el dinero; that is just my two cents worth: eso es lo que yo pienso, es mi opinión, es mi parecer, es lo que a mí me parece.


"Words and their stories", in VOA Special English, was written by Jill Moss. I’m Faith Lapidus.