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Bring home the bacon

刊登日期: 2016.04.30
作者: Grace Tse  

Bacon is preserved meat which comes from the back or sides of a pig. This food is very popular in Western countries. So you may be able to infer the meaning of the idiom “bring home the bacon”, when a worker says,

“I must work hard so that I can bring home the bacon.”

The idiom “bring home the bacon” does not mean that the worker brings the meat to his family to eat. This actually means that the worker can earn a living, especially for his family.

There are many stories behind this idiom. The first can be traced back to the early 12th century. In the little village of Dunmow in England, if a couple were still devoted to each other for a year and a day after marriage, the Prior of Little Dunmow Priory(小丹莫修道院院長)would reward them with a side of bacon(called “flitch” locally)as a prize. This was seen as a good prize because bacon was the staple meat of the working class at that time.

This tradition still continues at Dunmow nowadays to celebrate harmony in marriage. Because of this origin, this idiom also means that someone does something successfully, especially in a game or race, and brings home the prize.

The football fans cheered to see the team bring home the bacon(大獲全勝)in the match.

However, this meaning is less common than the meaning of “earning a salary”.

Another origin is related to an old game of catching a greased pig in the early 16th century. The game was popular at country fairs in which the prize was the pig. The winner could “bring home the bacon”.

On 1st May, many countries around the world celebrate Labour Day(勞動節), which is a public holiday in Hong Kong. Labour unions organise activities to advocate labour rights. One of the rights is protection against unemployment. It is important that everyone has the right to work in order to “bring home the bacon” (維持生計).


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