Pigs Part 1

I commented on a colleague’s post last week, suggesting that some clients were pig-headed, or obstinate, from the idea that a driven pig will always do the opposite of what it’s luckless drover wants it to. It got me thinking about all the other expressions involving pigs and there are a lot of them! Even limiting myself to the ones I particularly like, this is going to be a two-part blog!

Many of the phrases are anything but complimentary but I do love the image I get from someone being ‘as happy as a pig in shit/muck’ (both of which actually mean manure in this case). Another lovely image is ‘putting lipstick on a pig’ which since the Muppets seems perfectly normal but means to make superficial changes to something to cover up fundamental flaws.

Buying ‘a pig in a poke’ is buying something that later turns out to be not what you expected. The word ‘poke’ comes from the French ‘poque’ (a sack or bag). If you bought a pig in a sack and didn’t look inside before you paid for it, it was your own fault if it turned out to be a bad buy. Maybe not even a pig! Caveat emptor – let the buyer beware. In Dutch and some other European languages, it’s not a pig in a poke, but a cat in a sack!

In Scotland, we used to buy chips and sweets in a ‘poke’ (pointed paper bag).