Posted by Henry on February 07, 2004
In Reply to: Meaning of phrase posted by ESC on February 07, 2004
: : : Can anyone tell me the meaning of the phrase
: : : "if wishes were horses, pigs would fly."
: : : Thanks in anticipation.
: : You've got two separate phrases muddled there. "Pigs might fly" is an ironic response to an unlikely proposition. For example, "Iraq has WMD that they might use to attack London" - "Yes, and pigs might fly".
: : The other is "If wishes were horses then beggars would ride", which is pretty much self-explanatory.
: From the archives:
: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride
: If turnips were swords, I'd wear one by my side
: If ifs and ands were pots and pans,
: there'd be no need for tinkers' hands"
: For other variations: see http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/17/messages/1213.html
Just one small but significant change;
If "ifs" and "ans"
From Bartleby; an; CONJUNCTION: Archaic And if; if. ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, short for and, and, from Old English.