Year of the Pig 2019: Pig expressions to learn this Lunar New Year

Year of the Pig 2019: Pig expressions to learn this Lunar New Year

Our porky friends get called by different names, and get mixed into everyday words that seem to have nothing to do with the animal

Pigsty (“sty” rhymes with “eye”)

Today, we use the term to refer to a really dirty, messy place. Your mum might ask you to clean your bedroom because it looks like a pigsty.

A sty is what we used to call the area pigs were kept on farms. These areas were not kept very clean – not the pigs’ fault at all. Pigs don’t have sweat glands like we do – always good to remember when someone says they were “sweating like a pig” – so they have to find a different way to cool down on warm days. That is why they lie in mud.

But pigs are otherwise really clean animals and won’t poop anywhere near where they live, if they have a choice. Farmers used to feed pigs all sorts of food waste from the kitchen. So pigsties were stinky places, and everyone thought pigs were really dirty.

10 complicated but useful English words you should add to your vocabulary immediately

Piggy banks

A place where you “save” your coins or loose change, is called a piggy bank. Some of them are actually made in the shape of a pig, with a slot to drop coins through. Some piggy banks have a hole under them that can be opened if you need to get some money. Some piggy banks need to be broken when you want to get your money back.

Ride a hog?

Harley-Davidson is a very famous motorcycle brand from the US. Bike riders often refer to Harleys as “hogs”. No one knows exactly why. Some say that in the 1920s there was a team of race riders who rode Harleys and won many races on these powerful bikes. Just for fun, they chose a pig as their team mascot. If they won, the story went, they would take a real pig for a ride on a bike as their victory lap. They became known as the Harley Hogs, which was eventually shortened to just Hogs.

Write better, sound smarter, and enrich your vocabulary with these 10 words English borrowed from other languages


When someone rides on your back or shoulders, you are giving them a piggyback. Lots of things that go one on top of the other are called piggybacks. For example, you could say, “The space shuttle went piggyback on a rocket.” If you piggyback off someone or something, you are getting help from that person or thing.


Okay, let’s be sure about these tails. When someone with long hair takes their hair to the back of their head, and puts it into a single tie, that is a ponytail. If they braid that hair, it’s a pigtail. Pigtails can also be worn one on each side of the head.

Edited by Nicole Moraleda

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Nothing of the snort


To post comments please
register or

1 comment