28 Pig Phrases: A List Created [For Fun], A Goal Achieved [Finally]

And now for something completely different.

Did you know that March 1st, this Sunday, is National Pig Day? Well it is.

In honor of this I’ve written a list of pig phrases seen immediately below plus I’ve provided an explanation at the end of the post as to why I‘ve written this list.

[You know you’re wondering why.] 

Please enjoy this list, but I beg of you, do not let this plethora of piggy-ness and phraseology overwhelm you with its profundity.

Photo by skeeze via pixabay


Please the pigs means if circumstances permit

Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered means don’t get greedy or whatever you have will be taken away from you

As short as a pig’s kick means not very good [Spanish insult]

Even a blind pig will occasionally find an acorn means even the least competent person will have something useful to contribute once in a while

To go to pigs and whistles means to go to ruin

Happier than a dead pig in sunshine means thrilled [Southern saying]

It’s as plain as a pig on a sofa means very obvious

Looked like a pig on ice means clumsy

He follows me around like an Antony pig means someone who mindlessly follows someone else [old English term referencing a Roman Catholic saint]

Don’t go crossing the pig tracks means don’t behave in an unseemly way

Feed a pig and you’ll have a hog means beware of encouraging a greedy person who’ll become dependent on you

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig means some people are too closed-minded to bother talking with [maybe said by Mark Twain]

Driving his pigs to market means snoring

Only a pig depends on the favors of swine means only a sneaky person will depend on the handouts of the disreputable

When pigs fly means it’ll never happen [English proverb from 1600s]

To get the wrong pig by the tail means to make a mistake

To bring one’s pigs to a fine market means to do well for yourself

Young pigs grunt as loud as old pigs grunted before them means same as it ever was [Danish proverb]

Like a pig to truffles means being able to go directly to the best of anything

Sometimes the rotten pig gets the apple means life isn’t always fair

Wears like a pig’s nose means durable [slogan from 1885 advertisement for overalls]

As happy as a pig in mud means contented with things as they are in this moment

I haven’t had this much fun since the pigs ate my brother means I’m having a good time

Don’t buy a pig in a poke means don’t make a deal without confirming the details

Sweating like a pig means to be so physically hot that beads of visible sweat form on you [not a reference to the farm animal, it’s about smelting iron]

Like putting lipstick on a pig means attempting to make something appear better than it is

Hollering like a stuck pig means a person who complains like they’re in pain to get attention

Neither give cherries to pigs nor advice to fools means your good intentions and truthfulness will be misunderstood by people who aren’t that intellectually bright [Irish proverb]

Addendum: More Pig Phrases Courtesy Of My Wonderful Commenters

What’s time to a pig means not to worry about something, it doesn’t really matter [from Dan at No Facilities]

Like pigs feeding at the trough means a greedy person, often a politician, getting more than his fair share [from Susan at Garden of Eden Blog]

Pig Latin means a made-up silly language in which the first syllable of an English word is removed from the beginning of the word and tacked onto the end of the word [from shoreacres at The Task at Hand]

In a pig’s eye means disbelief [from Deborah at temenos]

Pig out means to eat too much [from Anne at Mehrling Muse]

Piggy back means literally to carry someone on your back or in a figurative sense to add something to something that already exists [from Erica/Erika at Behind the Scenery]

Never wrestle with a pig; you just get muddy and the pig enjoys it means don’t bother trying to reason with someone who’s determined to be unreasonable [from Eilene at Myricopia]

~ ~ 🐷 ~ ~

And why, you may be asking yourself, does Ms. Bean know all these pig phrases?


It’s because in the winter of ’98 [yes, that’d be 1998] I planned on creating a website to see if I could figure out how to do that. I never got the chance to make the website, but I compiled this list in anticipation of doing so. The website was going to be about pig phrases.

[Once a wordy girl, always a wordy girl.]

Last weekend, in a serendipitous moment while sorting through some paper files in my desk drawer, I found this list of pig phrases and thought, considering the research was all done, why not make a blog post of it.

So I did.

~ ~ 🐷 ~ ~

140 thoughts on “28 Pig Phrases: A List Created [For Fun], A Goal Achieved [Finally]

  1. I like this.m list and I do like the sofa reference. I can add one for you. A coworker used to say this when he messed up his computer (often) and I had to fix it. I would apologize for the delay, and he’d say:

    “What’s time to a pig?”

    Meaning it didn’t matter.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Thanks for the explanation of sweating like a pig. That one never made sense to me. I worked on a vaccine for porcine pneumonia, very early on in my career – and that’s when I learned that pigs don’t even sweat. They pant like dogs do, to keep cool.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Deb, I didn’t know that pigs panted like dogs. I can see now how ridiculous the sweating like a pig phrase is. I tell you, here I am learning about pigs on a wintry Thursday. Yes this is what this blog has come to. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  3. We squirrels would like to raise an objection to pigs muscling in on our blind fellows finding acorns. Greedy hogs, indeed…

    Some of my favorite pig sayings….

    “Four legs good, two legs bad.”

    “Eebley eebley eebley.. That’s all folks!”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We use “like putting lipstick on a pig” at work all the time. Our clients do interesting things sometimes! I always get these sayings wrong. For instance, I call people wet sweaters instead of wet blankets. I’ll be sure to get one of these wrong too. Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Snort! These are funny enlightening and apt thanks Ally Bean. I’m familiar with some of the sayings – 😀 We refer to some of our politicians as pigs feeding at the trough –


    • Zen-Den, it is amazing how some of these pig phrases are still in use everywhere, while others are almost forgotten in history. Glad I added some snorts and giggles to your day.


  6. I grew up with “happy as a hog eating coal.” I’m not sure if hogs really do eat coal, or if it makes them happy, but there has to be some background to that one.
    The only thing that could have made this better is if you’d written it in Pig Latin!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jill, I hope going back to WV was a good thing. I don’t think I’m cut out to be a pig mom, but if you get one more power to you. Think of the pics you could take for your blog!


  7. I never knew the pig iron connection to “sweating like a pig”, either. And me from a steel town, too, and the daughter of a steelworker. I love picking up a new little factoid–thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am familiar with a number of these, but don’t use too many of the ones I’ve actually heard before.
    I have used putting lipstick on a pig before referring to myself a few times, and I’ve said something about being in Hog Heaven, and not throwing pearls before swine. Not sure those last two count on your list since they’re really not “pig” specific. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Charlotte & Wilbur are thrilled by this post.
    But Mr. Ed wants equal time on the podium.

    Chicken Little doesn’t care much, one way or the other; he’s still preoccupied with the sky’s proximity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nancy, it’s funny you’d mention Mr. Ed. I just this week on Instagram shared a photo of horse rumps and quoted the theme song from Mr. Ed in conjunction with it.

      I think you’ve sized up Chicken Little perfectly. He’s such a cluck.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Donna, I couldn’t tell you why or where I found these pig phrases, but I did. It was a long time ago when I put this list together. I’m not sure that before researching this, I’d have known more than 3 phrases either. We live, we learn.


  10. Ally, serendipity indeed! 😀 First I thought you’d made these up but realise they are real and a few are familiar! A great collection of pig phrases and I love how you were going to start a website around these in 1998! Are there animal days for the whole year? I feel I’m missing something here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Annika, I wish I could remember why I was going to make the website for pig phrases, but my motivation is lost in the fog of my brain. I don’t know if there are animal days the whole year round. It’s a good question. I only knew about this one because I’d made a note of it in the file I found.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that many of these phrases lend themselves to today’s news stories. Back in ’98 I’m sure I wasn’t worried about niches, I was just wondering if I could make a website. A personal challenge, you know? Why I chose pig phrases I could not say.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve liked pigs since Charlotte’s Web . . . although my impression of them took a turn for the worse while reading Animal Farm.

        Pigs is a good place to start . . . allowing you to branch out to other barnyard animals, pets (e.g., “raining cats and dogs”), and even to animals residing on other continents. The sky’s the limit ~> no matter what Chicken Little says!

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Love your little pigs picture. My niece and her husband have recently acquired some pigs and treat them like pet dogs. They are so cute! I hadn’t heard of a lot of these phrases. But they were fun to read. Always love to read your posts and the responses. I always learn something. Yay for pigs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beth, I know some people have pet pigs and adore them. I’m sure I’m not meant to do that but if your niece and husband are having fun, more power to them. I don’t know why I was interested in pigs phrases back in 1998, but now I’ve got a blog post about them so all is good.

      Liked by 1 person

    • AutumnAshbough, I didn’t know most of the phrases when I first did the research for the website that never was. When I found the list I realized I’d forgotten many of them, but they are fun to know, if only to be silly.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I recognize several of those, and have even been known to use a few of them. I wonder which animal elicits the most sayings. It seems like there a multitude for pigs. Now my mind has gone off on a tangent… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Margaret, you ask a good question. I’ve no idea which animal has the most phrases about it. I don’t even know how you could find out definitively. It’d be contingent on which language you were using. 🤔


  13. The things that go through our brains sometimes, right? Some of these were familiar to me and I am neither Southern nor farm familiar. Thanks for the interpretations. Truthfully though, I’m not sure I would have followed you had your blog been solely about pigs so I’m glad you went in another direction 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janet, I don’t think that I’d have been able to write a whole blog based on pigs. I only like the quotes and know little about them as animals. I agree with you, it’s better how things worked out.

      Liked by 1 person

    • laura, at the time I was contemplating making a website I’d not heard of blogs so it was all I knew about. I agree that it’s better that I found blogging which appeals to my sense of randomness more than just pig phrases, clever as they are. I’m a blogger not a webmaster (mistress?).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Swinged Cat, nicely said. I don’t know what my original intent was with these pig phrases, but having found them again I had to share them here. Learn what you will from them.


    • Judy, I’m not sure how many of these phrases I knew before I did the research in ’98. Finding the list refreshed my memory. I’m thrilled to know that you used a pig phrase today. I didn’t do that even though I created this list. Must up my pig talk game. 🐽


  14. That’s quite a list Ally. When I see the phrase “when pigs fly” I think of an old TV sitcom called “Alice” which featured a wise-cracking waitress named Flo. She had a Southern accent and besides saying”kiss my grits” her other trademark lines were “when pigs fly” or “when donkeys fly!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda, I remember that show and I definitely remember Flo. I loved her “kiss my grits” line, but I don’t remember her saying the “when pigs fly” line. I say “when pigs fly” but I don’t tell people to “kiss my grits” enough, now that I think about it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ally, well next time you encounter one of those oddball people, let that expression rip … I may think it also, but never voice it. Flo had a lot of one-liners like many Southern gals – you remember the video I sent you one time of “Southern Speak” … YouTube has a series of videos on Southern women and their idioms. My friend who is originally from Charleston, SC sent it to me and said “yes, we do talk like that!”

        Liked by 2 people

    • Writer McWriterson, thank you. I write this blog based on whatever catches my attention, not by any editorial calendar that’s for sure. Hence random posts such as this one, presented for snorts and giggles.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Laurie, oh please do share the list with her. I like pigs, but just happened to start a project about them over 2 decades ago, then saw the opportunity to finish it this week. This blog won’t be going to the pigs. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  15. A huge smile, Ally. Even before I begin reading. I am looking forward to this piggy back ride.

    I think it is okay to write this: my husband was in banking for many years and I heard the phrase often “Like putting lipstick on a pig.”

    Just when I thought I couldn’t love you any more……….xx

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I had never heard many of these phrases before but flying pigs was always a favourite. My sister sent me a when-pigs-can-fly card when I started running and finished my first race. Let’s just say that Joanne + running + race were never put together in one sentence before that time 😀


    • Joanne, that’s a great memory of how the pig phrase became part of your life. I’ll admit that some days Ally + walking + get your butt out the door is about as likely as pigs flying. Totally get your point about that.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I read through all the great comments in this wonderful blog post and yet no one came up with:”Never wrestle with a pig; you just get muddy and the pig enjoys it.”

    Great collection! Isn’t so fun to go through old files and find little gems?


    • Sheryl, this list of pig phrases is a goof. They’re fun, but in truth I don’t plan on celebrating National Pig Day in any way whatsoever. Just another thing to know about.


    • Anabel, I’ve not heard that variation of the pig in mud phrase. It’s appropriate to be sure. There’s a day for everything as far as I can tell. Now whether anyone celebrates it is a whole ‘nother thing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • philmouse, oh you are clever. Now that we’ve all enjoyed National Pig Day in our own ways, I’m hoping this list will be a resource for years to come– seeing as it took me many years to get it here the www. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I find it interesting that we use pigs as the object of an insult, but they are one of the most intelligent animals on this planet! I’ve heard of some of these phrases, but not all. Still scratching my head over why a pig is happy to be dead in the sunshine…???

    Great list, Ally!


    • Kate, you make a good point about how pigs are smart yet maligned. Many of these pig phrases seem macabre. From what I can tell, it’s anyone’s guess as to why some phrases stick around, for centuries even, while other phrases are forgotten.


    • L. Marie, I’m laughing here. I don’t know exactly how anyone was supposed to celebrate the day, but I suspect that eating sausage might not have been the point of the holiday. However, I’m hardly an expert about National Pig Day– I just have a list of phrases to share.


  19. I love quotes and sayings, learned quite a few new ones (for me). Years ago, after a colleague and I hit yet another brick wall in trying to change people’s minds, he brought me a beautiful drawing he created of a pig with wings. “When pigs fly” has a special meaning for me 🙂 Good to see it on the list!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. A well-constructed list. Many of which I use. Although, my happier than a pig in mud version is less eloquent. Crude even.
    Your pig list is the cat’s pajamas!

    Liked by 2 people

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