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Posted by ESC on February 25, 2000

In Reply to: WHEN PIGS FLY posted by Tomar on February 24, 2000

: : Where does this old saying come from...Any ideas?

: : When pigs fly

: No idea towards when it was originated, but it doesn't "come from" anything, it's just a way of saying never. Pigs will never fly. Simple as that. Although I'll bet Bruce Kahl will jump in and prove me completely wrong with some publication excerpt!

"IF A PIG HAD WINGS, IT COULD FLY - What you say is just wishful thinking; it can never happen. The saying has been traced back to 'Proverbs of Scotland' . The Walrus in 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll questioned 'whether pigs had wings.' First attested in the United States in 'Green Thicket World' by H. Vines. The adage is found in varying forms: If a pig (pigs) had wings, one could fly; If that happens, then pigs can fly; When pigs fly, that's when, etc. It may be reversed: Pigs could fly if they had wings. As a rejoinder to the suggestion that something impossible may happen, it is usually abbreviated to 'when pigs fly' or 'if bunny rabbits grow wings.'." From the "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

See also: the meaning and origin of 'when pigs fly'.