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Pig Idioms

Updated on August 9, 2020
Ben Reed profile image

Ben has held a life-long interest in language and has a particular interest in the expressions, phrases, and idioms that contribute to it.

Pig Idioms and Phrases

Pigs are intelligent animals, yet they often have a poor reputation.

Many idioms that reference these animals are derogatory and do little to enhance their standing. Despite this, pigs are also considered cute, even adorable by many of us.

Idioms and phrases based on pigs, often reference the everyday activities and assumptions that we humans consider these to animals to exhibit.

Don't be Stuck Like a Piggy in the Middle

It's never comfortable being the piggy in the middle.
It's never comfortable being the piggy in the middle. | Source

Piggy in the Middle

Meaning: a person who is caught in the middle of an argument between two people or groups.

Example sentence: "I did not want to offend either of them. I was like piggy in the middle."

When Pigs Fly

Meaning: that something is implausible.

Example sentence: "I don't know why you bothered buying that lottery ticket. You know that it will only be a winner when pigs fly."

Idioms That Fly

A likely story! I'll believe it when I see a pig fly.
A likely story! I'll believe it when I see a pig fly. | Source

Buy a Pig in a Poke

Meaning: to have bought something that is not everything it was as advertised as being.

An idiom believed to have its origins back in the Middle Ages. Some think that it refers to a time when meat was hard to come by, but when rats and cats were not. It doesn't take much imagination to see what may have happened.

Sweat Like a Pig

Meaning: that a person is sweating profusely.

The origin of this idiom is difficult to source. It is strange to include the reference to a pig in this phrase as pigs don't actually have any sweat glands and, therefore, cannot perspire in this way. Some believe that this idiom stems from the smelter of pig iron, which at a critical stage of manufacture, when cool enough to transport, "sweats."

You Can Put Lipstick on a Pig, But It's Still a Pig

Meaning: to suggest that you can dress up a situation or issue to make it appear more appealing, but that you cannot fundamentally change what it is.

Example statement: "That old jalopy has had a new paint job and the chrome polished, but it still has all the old mechanical problems and is continually breaking down. It's like they say, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."

Like Lipstick on a Pig

All dressed up. But underneath all the glamour, it's still a pig.
All dressed up. But underneath all the glamour, it's still a pig.

In a Pigs Eye!

To say that something has no chance of happening.

The origins of this expression are a little vague. Some people believe that there is a reference to the fact that pigs have small eyes.

Example sentence: "You want me to clean up your mess. In a pig's eye, I will!"

Squeal Like a Stuck Pig

Meaning: that someone made a fuss, usually over nothing.

Example sentence: "He squealed like a pig, and I thought he had lost a finger. It turns out he had merely scratched his hand."

If That Don't Beat a Pig a-Pecking

Meaning: that something is fantastic.

Example sentence: "I backed a 33 to 1 winner at the races yesterday. If that doesn't beat a pig, a-pecking."

Why not take part in my Idiom test. Just fill in the missing word.

A little ............told me.

See results

Don't Hog Everything

  • Go Hog Wild

Meaning: that someone is behaving wildly.

Example: "That child is unruly, he has gone hog wild."

  • To go the Whole Hog

To be extravagant, to leave nothing out.

Why Not go The Whole Hog?

We shouldn't let this animal hog the whole show.
We shouldn't let this animal hog the whole show. | Source

These Idioms Have Everything but the Squeal

  • Pig it

Meaning: suggest that a person's living conditions are a mess and that they live like a pig.

  • Everything but the Squeal

Meaning: to say that nothing goes to waste.

  • It Ain't Fitting to Roll With a Pig

Meaning: that a person is uncouth.

Like Pigs to the Slaughter

Meaning: that something is being done obediently and in large numbers.

Why not Take Part in my Idiom Test?

Just fill in the missing word.

A your bonnet.

See results

More Pig Idioms

  • Like Stealing Acorns From a Blind Pig

Meaning: that something is straightforward to do.

  • Pigs Ear

To say that something or an object is useless.

  • Casting Pearls Before Swines

A way of saying that you are offering something of value to a person, who either cannot or does not appreciate it.

Pig Idioms — a Lesson From BBC Learning English


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