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Pig in a poke




To buy (or sell) pig in a poke 是一则非常古老的谚语。

To buy a pig in a poke 字面意思是"购买了自己根本看不到的东西"(to buy something which you cannot see),引申为"买了自己对其真实性能一点都不熟悉的东西"(to buy something whose true nature is unknown)。《纽约时报杂志》1992年曾用过这个谚语:"What did he [sc. President Bush] think about Ross Perot as a candidate for President? There's 'too much at stake, as we say here, to buy a pig in a poke'".

Buy a pig in a poke这里的poke和我们所常用的做动词用的poke可不是一回事,我们这里讨论的poke来自法语,一直以来就只有"小袋或小口袋"的意思。Poke的这种用法最早见于13世纪。不过这种用法也只出现在苏格兰、美国南部某些州的英语中,其它地方(除了出现在谚语当中)就很少见到了。

Buy a pig in a poke这个短语在法语和德语中都有类似的表达,例如法语中acheter chat en poche ("to buy a cat in a pocket")和德语中die Katze im Sack kaufen ("to buy a cat in a sack"),它们和英语中的buy a pig in a poke是相同的意思。