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In a pig's ear

Discussion in 'English Only' started by janezhang88, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. janezhang88

    janezhang88 Senior Member

    China
    chinese
    Hello, I am reading"To Kill Mockingbird" and am not clear for phrase within the following dialoge, please give me its true meaning, thanks in advance
    "I helped the engineer for a while", said Dill,yawning
    "In a pig's ear you did,Dill.Hush,"said Jem,"what'll we play today?"
    ..............
     
  2. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    I have no idea where this phrase originated, however, it means that you don't believe what the other person is telling you ie:

    Janezhang: "I saw little green men land their spacecraft in the meadow today"
    Dimcl: "In a pig's ear you did!"
     
  3. janezhang88

    janezhang88 Senior Member

    China
    chinese
    Is that a slang?
     
  4. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    Absolutely. It is also quite old-fashioned so the "younger generation" probably hasn't heard it nor used it. I still hear it occasionally from people middle-aged and older.
     
  5. mrbilal87

    mrbilal87 Senior Member

    English (NAmE)
    Hi,

    Yes it is - not recommended in formal writing. It's also more common among older age-groups.

    Cheers!
     
  6. janezhang88

    janezhang88 Senior Member

    China
    chinese
    Thank you all for warm help
     
  7. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    In BE we say to make a pig's ear of something. It means to completely mess it up.
    I'm interested that the same image could be used so differently. I've never heard the AE form - to mean like hell! - used in Britain.
     
  8. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    You can't make a silk purse out of sow's ear.
    This means that no matter how many stories you tell a pig's ear will remain a pig's ear. Truth will out.

    In a pig's ear has a ring of this for me.

    It is a well known saying of derision at a statement or claim. In a pig's ear means that I don't believe you. You may as well talk to a pig because my ears are hearing the truth not your attempt to spin your pig's ear into a silk purse.

    .,,
     
  9. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    Yes, many thanks for that .,,. But note it's always a sow's ear that you can't make a silk purse out of. Your suggestion that the BE expression to make a pig's ear of something comes from the longer expression is interesting, as is the information that in a pig's ear is used in Australia in the sense described by the Americans, while I've never heard it here.
     
  10. la reine victoria Senior Member

    I'm certain "in a pig's ear" is not a BE expression - at least, I've never heard of it.

    If you don't believe someone you can say, "Yes, and pigs might fly!"

    LRV
     
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In a pig's eye, ear, or arse, is colloquial, right enough.
    Apparently originating in either AE or OzE, like many such expressions it is familiar enough in my bit of the world.
     
  12. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    I am sorry that you read something that I didn't write but I can only write it.

    .,,
     
  13. mplsray Senior Member

    No, in a pig's ear is not slang, it's informal English, also known as colloquial English. Slang is a subset of informal English: While all slang is informal English, not all informal English is slang.
     

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