food handed out in contempt 嗟来之食
One year during the Spring and Autumn Period (春秋时期,770-476 BC), there was a the Qi State (齐国) was severely strickend by a famine.
Qian Ao (qián ào 黔敖), a very rich but arrogant man took the occasion to showcase his generosity through preparing food by the roadside and giving it to the passing refugees in charity.
A man with shabby clothes happened to walk by with his shoes trailing along, he was so hungry as not to open his eyes.
Seeing the poor man, Qian Ao held the food by left hand and the drink by right hand, and shouted at him,”Hi, come to eat !”
Hearing the word, the man glared his eyes and said, “It is because I am not willing to eat the food handed out in contempt that I have been famished to such a degree. ”
Though Qian Ao made an apology to him for that, the man still resolutely refused to eat the food and thus he died of hunger in the end.
This set phrase now extensively denotes the disrespectful aims. This story means that a person who has a strong sense of self-respect would rather die of hunger than be despised.
中文中“嗟来之食”的意思就是“带有侮辱性的施舍”，英语直译就是“something handed out in contempt”，那如果是“主动去乞求帮助或是施舍”的话，英语该如何表达呢?
英文中常用惯语有“come hat in hand”，也就是是乞求或请求别人“施舍”，求人给一些原本不属于你的东西，源自英国民俗，根据当时英国的民间习俗，当一个人穷困潦倒、无以为生时，就可以手持帽子，低声下气地向别人乞讨，以获取他人的同情，这是一种非常丢脸的行为，所以一般人除非迫不得已，否则是不会这样做的。
所以，come hat in hand 常用来比喻“走投无路”、“穷困潦倒”、“有求于人”。
例如： Retired workers need not come hat in hand to ask for supplementary allowance. (退休工人就不必卑躬屈膝地请求追加补助费了。)