Advent Calendar 18 – “Piggy Idioms”

Piggy idioms

Hello everyone,

day 18 of our Advent Calendar and today, we’ll once again get a little boost for our idiomaticness… wait, idiomaticness… is that even a word?
Anyway, today we’ll learn two really really cool and useful idiomatic expressions. And not just any idiomatic expressions but idiomatic expressions involving an animal. And not just any animal, but the pig. And not just any pig but the cute little… okay, actually it’s any pig :).

The pig is probably one of the most common animals for expressions all over the world. And the thing they’re most known for, and hence the most common topic for pig-idioms  is their ability to do calculus.

Okay…. of course I’m kidding. This is NOT what you’d say in German.
I mean, they ARE really good at calculus (I had one do my homework back in the day), but the thing they’re usually associated with is that they’re dirty. And German has a bunch of variations over that theme.

And the first idiom I want to show you is probably loosely based on this.
The first one is kein Schwein  and it is a common, colloquial way to say nobody.
The original idea was probably something like “Not even a pig (or pig like person) …” but it doesn’t sound as strong anymore.

I mean, it is still rough, but it’s not at all vulgar or offensive and there’s actually a quite famous song with it. I’ll put a link below, but first, let’s look at the other expression: Schwein haben.
Literally, it is “to have a pig” and believe it or not, here the pig is a synonym for…  luck.
Yes, luck. Schwein haben essentially means to be lucky. Actually, the pig is a symbol for luck in general, just like a four leave clover.

It’s actually no exactly clear where this notion and the phrasing Schwein haben come from and there are several theories. One says, that Schwein was a synonym for a very high value card in a card game. Another theory says that it was because at some medieval competitions you’d get a pig when you finish last, so you got something good without doing something for it.
And even though these sound already super convincing, but my favorite theory is my own… Schwein haben was coined by young scholars when they were allowed to bring their pet pig with them to the calculus exam.
Tadah. #originsolved #comingfullcircle
Anyway, examples…

Schwein haben is super super common in daily life and you should start start using it.
And in case your significant other asks you to not eat like a pig when with their parents at Christmas just say: “Freu dich doch, dass du Schwein hast.”
They’ll be convinced. Probably :).
And that’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed it. Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments,
have a great day and bis morgen.

Here’s the link to video to the “Kein Schwein” song.  (if it ends up as an embed, it’s not my fault, dear lawyers)