Is your pig whistling? Quirky German idioms featuring pigs | Lifestyle | DW | 04.02.2019
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Is your pig whistling? Quirky German idioms featuring pigs

It's the Chinese Year of the Pig — time to let out the sow, as they say in Germany. From whistling pigs to the sow's claw, the German language has many quirky idioms featuring this porky animal.

The pig, one of mankind's oldest domestic creatures, is omnipresent in Germany, a nation with almost 27 million of the animals in 2018 — near one third of the human population. No wonder: pork schnitzel is a national dish in Germany and is widely consumed by locals and tourists alike.

But much more than sausage and schnitzel, swine have attained deep cultural significance in Germany and have long been seen as a lucky charm, for instance. In the Middle Ages, a farmer who had lots of pigs was obviously wealthy and did not want for food. Still today, little pink marzipan pigs are a popular German gift on New Year's Day to wish people good luck for the coming months.

Read more: 8 German expressions that will change the way you see nature

Predictably, Germans have plenty of sayings and idioms revolving around pigs. Click on the gallery above to discover some swine allegory that Germans use to call out a disgusting meal, or to describe the outrageous and extraordinary.

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