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Pigs might fly

刊登日期: 2019.01.25
作者: Grace Tse  

Chinese people around the world will shortly be celebrating the Year of the Pig. What does the Pig, the twelfth sign of the Chinese zodiac, symbolise? The Pig represents good fortune and wealth during Chinese New Year. 

Unlike the deep-rooted idea that pigs are lazy and greedy, animal studies show that they are intelligent and sociable. However, the expression “pigs might fly” does not mean that pigs are so clever that they can fly. As shown in the following dialogue, this is a humorous or sarcastic way to express impossibility or disbelief

John: Maybe one day I will be a billionaire. 

Mary: Yes, and pigs might fly! 

Mary mocks John’s over-ambition because there is no chance for him to become such a rich person. 

The original idea of this saying may come from the writing of Walter Haddon, a British lawyer, in 1581. 

“This is a great promise …: But when will this be done? When pigges flye with their tayles foreward [When pigs fly with their tails forward], ….” 

This ancient proverb doubled the unlikelihood of something happening. Firstly, pigs cannot fly; secondly, if pigs could fly, it was extremely unlikely that they could fly in the air with their tails in front of them. 

The current version of the proverb appeared in a British women’s magazine of literature and fashion, “New Monthly Belle Assemblée”, in 1840: 

“Pigs might fly, ….” 

Don’t say “pigs might fly” (無稽之談;那是不可能的事) during Chinese New Year, but instead say: 

“Wishing you prosperity and joy in the Year of the Pig!”


Glossary

Chinese zodiac 

生肖

Intelligent 

機智

Sociable 

合群

Humorous 

幽默

Sarcastic 

挖苦

Disbelief 

不相信

Unlikelihood 

不可能

Prosperity 

富貴

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