Tuesday 14 August 2007

What does "Sweating like a Pig" mean?


I like scratching around and looking for the origins of sayings and phrases that one hears and uses. Two of these popped up while I was reading stuff on other sites recently.
The first one was “sweating like a pig”. This is an interesting one, as pigs don’t sweat. They have no sweat glands so it is impossible for them to sweat. Then why sweating like a pig? Exactly that, no sweat. If someone is referred to as sweating like a pig it means he is doing absolutely nothing. For example, Hubby is in the garage, supposedly doing something of substance, but he is drinking beer and playing cards with his buddies. This could be referred to as “ He is working in the garage, sweating like a pig”.


The other one was “hell for leather”. Different interpretations on this one. This saying appears to have evolved over the last 100 or so years. Originally “hell bent” meant to be totally committed to doing something at any cost. Rudyard Kipling first documented “Hell for leather” sometime in the late 1800’s while he was in India, and appears to refer to riding a horse very hard.
“Hell bent for leather” originated in 19th Century in America, and referred to an obstinate or troublesome animal such as a horse or cow. The “hell bent for leather” was meant to convey the fact that the animal so difficult to handle that it would have to be slaughtered, and the carcass turned into leather products.

9 comments:

Alta said...

Great blog! I saw that you visited my blog and I just wanted to say a quick hello. Ok - Hello!

AmyMeacham said...

Thanks I always wondered about sweating like a pig, but I also hear bleeding like a stuck pig, too...

Shefishs said...

Thanks for visiting the Rupununi Spin blog, now tell me where and what does.."more money than it would take to burn a wet dog" mean or come from?
Cheers
Shefishs

Graham said...

I will scratch around and see what I can find....Thanks for feedback

Manoj Turlapati said...

nice blog!
Myleisurepursuit.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

According to Life Science, pigs do have a few sweat glands, they just aren't useful...

Jonny said...

Hi there, been a while!
Once again I learnt something from ur blog... Must confess I had this one completely the other way around... like we say in Norway; "Sweat oneself to death"... http://stensbys.blogspot.com/2008/10/being-norwegian.html

Matthew said...

"Sweat like a pig" refers to the iron smelting process.

katty said...

Although many people are afraid to eat pig frequently, i must to say this meat is really delicous and don´t have any comparion because the taste is extraordinary and we can cook it in any activities or meeting. Or even in a romantic dinner, if you are thinking to prepare a dinner for your husband or boyfriend.


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