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10 Pig idioms!

Friday, 8 February 2019

In the English language, we tend to use pig idioms in a negative or a derogatory way, as we’ll see. 2019 is the year of the pig, so we are going to share 10 pig idioms with you. Keep in mind that in English we have a number of words for pig, including hog, swine, and boar.

 when pigs fly

Used to refer to something that is impossible or highly unlikely to happen.

“Maybe the shopping mall won’t be crowded when we get there.” “When pigs fly!”

“My boss says he’ll give me a week off work when pigs fly.”

 

piggy bank

A pig-shaped container used to collect and store coins, usually by children.

“My daughter puts all of her coins into her piggy bank.”

“We’re going to break open the piggy bank at the end of the year and use the coins to buy presents.”

 

piggyback

noun
A ride given on someone’s back or shoulders.

“After I got tired of walking, my father would give me a piggyback the rest of the way home.”

verb
To carry on your back or shoulders.

“I piggybacked my son around the park because he likes to be up high.”

 

pig out

verb
To eat more food than would be considered usual.

“Once a month, my friend and I get together and pig out on pizza and ice cream.”

“I really pigged out on junk food over the holidays, and now I need to lose weight!”

 

like putting lipstick on a pig

A way of saying that no matter how much pretty things you stuff into a person or product, it is still fundamentally ugly and no amount of cosmetics (lipstick) is going to fix it.

“Dressing him in a tuxedo is like putting lipstick on a pig. “

“A coat of paint won’t increase the value of that old shack, it’s just be like putting lipstick on a pig.”

 

squeal like a stuck pig

To make a loud, shrill, squealing sound, usually when someone is in real or imagined pain:

“My son is such a sook, he’s eighteen but he still squeals like a stuck pig whenever he has to get a needle.”

 

(as) happy as a pig in clover = (as) happy as a pig in muck

This means to be very happy and contented in one's situation. 

“My husband’s as happy as a pig in clover, sitting in his favourite armchair, a beer in one hand and the remote control in the other …”

 

pig in the middle


Describes someone who’s caught in the middle of an argument between two people or groups, and who doesn't want to choose sides.

“As a kid I always felt like I was pig in the middle when my parents started fighting.”

“The infighting at the company has made our department the pig in the middle between the management and the financial teams.”

 

like pigs to the slaughter

To describe a group of people who are willingly or naively easy lead to do something that’s definitely not in their best interest.

“Look at all of the people lined-up to buy their Mark 6 Snowball tickets, like pigs to the slaughter. You’ll often also hear, like lambs to the slaughter.”

 

cast pearls before swine


To waste something on someone who will not be thankful or care about it

“Giving the jewellery to the woman will be casting pearls before swine. She will not appreciate it at all.”

© 2019 Antipodean English Language School