To keep a lid on it 不要聲張,保守秘密


The script of this programme 本節目台詞

Image copyright BBC World Service
Image caption Would you keep the lid on a free cup of coffee?

(sound of coffee cup being put on a table)

Li: Thanks for the coffee, Neil. What a good idea to present Authentic Real English from a coffee shop!

Neil: Yes, Li, it's good to get out of the studio - and anyway, I get the coffee for free here.

Li: You don't pay for it?! 你在這家咖啡廳能喝免費咖啡?為什麼你的咖啡不要錢?

Neil: (Sounding slightly vague) Contacts.

Li: … contacts?

Neil: Yes, people I know. Don't tell anyone but my friend works here and… well… when the boss isn't around, he gives me the coffee for free.

Li: (loudly and surprised) He gives it to for free?

Neil: Ssshhh! Keep your voice down. If he gets found it he'll get the sack, you know lose his job. We need to keep a lid on it.

Li: 把蓋子蓋上?!Why do we need to keep a lid on the coffee? Are we trying to hide it?

Neil: No Li. When you say keep a lid on something, it means keep it a secret – or keep it quiet about it…

Li: Oh I see. 當你說把蓋子蓋上的時候,意思是別吱聲,保密。

Neil: The phrase can also mean keep something strongly under control. Like your loud voice – control it and don't tell everyone! Keep a lid on it.

Li: 這個表達還有一個意思是控制住局面。We had better hear some examples while I drink my coffee... quietly!


  • We need to keep a lid on the company merger – if the newspapers get to hear about this, our share price will drop.
  • Our baby is due in November but keep a lid on the news – we haven't told our parents yet.
  • Please – keep a lid on your emotions – otherwise the waiter is going to ask us to leave!

Li: 現在我完全明白了。To keep a lid on something 意思就是別聲張,保守秘密還有克制情緒或局面的意思. (sips coffee) Mmm, this coffee does taste good but I don't like the idea that you got it for free – it's dishonest… 我得舉報你這種不誠實的行為。不付錢白喝,這多不好呀。

Neil: What's that Li?

Li: Oh nothing – I was just saying I might have to tell someone about your dishonest behaviour.

Neil: Ah! You mean you're going 'to lift the lid' on what I'm doing – that means to tell someone about something bad – well, you can but you know what that will mean?

Li: What's that?

Neil: You'll be buying the coffee next time – and it's not cheap!

Li: Oh right – let's just keep it our little secret for now shall we?

Neil: OK Li!

Both: Bye.