Pig in a poke
The phrase is about something which is offered for sale in a manner which hides its true value. The idiom means a purchase which turns out not to be what the seller claimed it was.
History[change | edit source]
Sometimes people simply bought the "poke" without looking inside; and sometimes people who thought they were buying pork or a small pig were surprised to find they had been sold something else.
The idiom pig in a poke is about what happens when someone does not look to see what is being bought or sold.
Meaning[change | edit source]
The idiom "pig in a poke" is used to describe something which is purchased without the buyer being aware of its true nature or value.
The phrase can also be applied to accepting an idea or plan without a full understanding of it. In other words, it is about starting a course of action without knowing the relevant facts.
Many other European languages have a version of this phrase, but many are translated as a warning not to buy a cat in a bag. -
|Bulgarian||да купиш котка в торба||to buy a cat in a bag|
|Catalan||Donar/Prendre gat per llebre||to give/to take cat instead of hare|
|Chinese||挂羊头卖狗肉||sell dog meat as mutton|
|Croatian||kupiti mačka u vreći||to buy a cat in a sack|
|Czech||koupit zajíce v pytli||to buy a hare in a sack|
|Danish||at købe katten i sækken||to buy the cat in the sack|
|Dutch||een kat in de zak kopen||to buy a cat in the sack|
|Estonian||ostma põrsast kotis||to buy a piglet in a sack|
|French||acheter un chat dans un sac
acheter chat en poche
|to buy a cat in a bag|
|Finnish||ostaa sika säkissä||to buy a pig in a sack|
|German||Die Katze im Sack kaufen||to buy the cat in the sack|
|Greek||αγοράζω γουρούνι στο σακκί||to buy a pig in a sack|
|Hebrew||חתול בשק||cat in a sack|
|Hungarian||zsákbamacska||cat in a sack|
|Icelandic||að kaupa köttinn í sekknum||to buy the cat in the sack|
|Indonesian||kucing dalam karung||cat in a sack|
|Irish||ceannaigh muc i mála||buying a pig in a bag|
|Italian||comperare un gatto in sacco||buying a cat in a sack|
|Latvian||pirkt kaķi maisā||to buy a cat in a sack|
|Lithuanian||pirkti katę maiše||to buy a cat in a sack|
|Luxembourgish||d'Kaz am Sak kafen||to buy the cat in a sack|
|Macedonian||да купиш мачка во вреќа||to buy the cat in the sack|
|Norwegian||kjøpe katta i sekken||to buy the cat in the sack|
|Polish||kupić kota w worku||to buy a cat in a sack|
|Portuguese||comprar gato por lebre||to buy a cat instead of a hare|
|Romanian||cumperi mâța în sac||to buy the cat in the bag|
|Russian||купить кота в мешке||to buy a cat in a sack|
|Spanish||dar gato por liebre||to give a cat instead of a hare|
|Spanish||hay gato encerrado||there is a cat shut inside|
|Serbian||купити мачку у џаку||to buy a cat in a sack|
|Slovak||kúpiť mačku vo vreci||to buy a cat in a sack|
|Slovene||kupiti mačka v žaklju||to buy a cat in a sack|
|Swedish||köpa grisen i säcken||to buy the pig in the sack|
References[change | edit source]
- Brewer, Ebenezer Cobham. (1853). "Pig in a poke," Errors of speech and of spelling, Vol. 2, p. 853.
- Brown, Keith. (2009). Concise Encyclopedia of Semantics, p. 404.
- Amer, Christine. (1997). "Pig in a poke," The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, p. 499.
- A poke is a sack or bag. It comes from the French word poque; see Philip Durkin (2009). The Oxford Guide to Etymology, p. 106.
- Lal, Ram Narain. (1904). "Pig," The Student's practical dictionary of idioms, phrases and terms: with explanation in English and Roman-Urdu, p. 470.
- Trask, Robert Lawrence and Peter Stockwell. (2007). Language and Linguistics: The Key Concepts, p. 114.
- A related English expression is "let the cat out of the bag".
- Gewehr, Wolf and Georgia Catsimali. (1998). Aspects of Modern Language Teaching in Europe, p. 203.