Posted by ESC on November 06, 1999
In Reply to: Let the cat out of the bag posted by Bruce Kahl on November 06, 1999
: : Have also heard that this applies to dropping/weighing anchor on sailing ships.
: I am not 100% on this but at medieval markets, unscrupulous traders
would display a pig for sale. However,the pig was always given to
the customer in a bag containing something that wiggled, and it
was only later that the buyer would find he'd been conned when he
opened the bag to reveal that it contained a cat, not a pig.
: Therefore, "letting the cat out of the bag" revealed the secret of the con trick.
You're right about the pig in a poke/cat out of the bag connection. The term might have two meanings. But the only related nautical term I could find was "cat. The catapult used to launch planes on an aircraft carrier." That's from "Slang" by Paul Dickson.