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

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Now is the VOA special English program words and their stories.

Americans often use expressions about animals. In 2008 the main candidates for president each used this expression “you can put lip stacked 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 the silk waistcoat is still a hog.” Hog are similar to pigs only big. Americans use other expression about pigs, hogs and female hogs called sows. Like this one “you can not make a silk pause out of sow’s ear.” This means you can’t create something valuable from something that has no value.

 

In the pig’s eye is another unusual expression, it means something is not so or will never happen. Then there is the expression “casting pearl before swine.”  That means wasting something valuable on someone who will not be thankful or care about it. However at least had one kind of pig can be useful in saving money, it is called a pig 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 animal if you say you ate high on the hog during a holiday, it means you ate very good or costly food. If you went whole hog on you 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 up more than their share, if one of you children is taking up too much space sitting in front of the television other children may say “do not hog the couch”, and a road hog is a driver who uses more than his share of the road, such a driver increase dangers for other drivers.

 

Pig terms are also used in American politics. Farmer 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 produced to eat. All the Americans want to be able to bring home the bacon that means to earn enough money to provide the necessities of life. Expert say this term was first used in the 1920s, but it is believe to come from much older game of catching a greased pig. This was a popular event at country fairs in which the winner was a awarded the pig.     

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