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[word-lover] 【整理】2008-10-19 Words and Their Stories

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Now the VOA special English program words and their stories.
Americans often use expressions about animals. In 2008, the

main candidates for president each used physic expression. You

can put lipstick on the pig, but it is still a pig. This means

that it is a waste of time to change something from ugly or

unpleasant-looking to beautiful. There are other expressions

about improving a pig's appearance like this one. A hog in a

silk waistcoat is still a hog. Hogs are similar to pigs, only

bigger. Americans use many others expressions about pigs,

hogs, and female hogs called sows. Like this one "You can not

make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." This means you can not

create something valuable from something that has no value. In

a pig's eye is another unusual expression. That means

something is not so or will never happen. Then there is the

expression casting pearls before swine. That means wasting

something valuable on someone who will not be thankful or care

about it. However at least one kind of pig can be useful in

saving money, it is called a piggy bank. You can buy a small

container shaped like a pig. It has a hole where a child can

put money into it. Hogs are very large animals. If you say you

ate high on a hog during a holiday, it means you ate very good

or costly food. If you went whole hog on your trip, it means

you did everything possible to have fun. But you should never

go hog wild at any time. Because that means behaving badly.

Hogs take up a lot of space, but people should not take more

than their share. If one of your children is taking up too

much space sitting in front of the television, other children

might say "Do not hog the couch". And a road hog is a driver

uses more than he share of the road. Such a driver increases

dangers for other drivers. Pig terms are also used in American

politics. Farmers mark their pigs' ears to identify them. In

politics, earmarks are money set aside for projects in a

congressman's home state or locality. And politicians might

say there is a lot of pork in a budget proposal, meaning

wasteful spending. In many areas, pigs provide ham, bacon and

other pork products to eat. All Americans want to be able to

bring home the bacon. That means to earn enough money to

provide the necessities of life. Experts say this term was

first used in 1920s, but it is believed to come from the much

older game of catching a greased pig. This was a popular event

at country fairs in which the winner was awarded the pig. This

VOA special English program was written by ...

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