Talk:Pig in a poke

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Rats and Cats[edit]

What do you think of removing the phrase "But apparently rats and cats were not." It seems a bit non-scholarly. 18:54, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Agreed, plus what relevance do rats have to the topic anyway? It doesn't say rats could be used in place of cats later in the article. MaxKnight 01:42, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Cat o' nine tails legend[edit]

Removed text stating that "letting the cat out of the bag" is related to the cat o' nine tails. Apart from the fact that it's hard to see how the phrase would have acquired its current meaning if the cat in question were a whip, there is no evidence for this derivation. See this discussion for example. Éamonn McManus 13:41, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I think two distinct expressions are being confused here. There's "letting the cat out of the bag" which, has the meaning and likely origin you describe here; and there's "the cat is out of the bag", which means that something bad is about to happen and refers to the cat o' nine tails. Anyway, that's the way it was explained to me. AldaronT/C 02:39, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
The added part on the mainpage about "no room to swing a cat" referring to floggings being carried out on the gundeck is wrong - at least as it applies to the Royal Navy. Floggings were traditionally carried out at a grating rigged to the fall of the quaterdeck, not below decks as this section implies. (talk) 09:42, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Other phrases[edit]

Is this actually the origin of the "left holding the bag" phrase? It seems perfectly logical (and the best explanation I can find) - but every other source I can find on the 'net seems to quote this article: which quite thoroughly contradicts it. For what it's worth, the article in question does a very poor job of actually explaining its definition of the origin and sounds like conjecture, but a few more sources or a direct citation to verify the information is called for. Tofof 05:53, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

The explanation given in WorldWideWords is basically right. The cops are coming, your gangmates have given you the bag of swag -- or in the more recent U.S. version, of contraband drugs -- to hold and have split the scene, abandoning you to take the full blame. I can't recall any citations at the moment, but I've seen it happen a time or two (don't ask!) --Rick Drake 03:21, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Origin of "cat out of the bag"[edit]

This article stated: This is also the origin of the expressions: "Let the cat out of the bag" meaning 'to reveal that which is secret'.

However, the article for the Cat o' Nine tails suggested that this torture weapon, kept in a bag, is the origin for said expression. Which one is it? Seems to me one of them is wrong, or maybe we'll never know for sure. But in that case, the doubt must be expressed and neither article should suggest to be sure about it. That's why I did a minor edit (see history). Greetings, RagingR2 19:40, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

It's quite clear to me: The cat that's been (or that you're being told not to) let out of the bag, is a live one, the one that's in the poke, being passed off as a pig to the unsuspecting buyer-about-to-be.
When you're talking about the Cat o' Nine tails you might say it is "out of the bag" but it cannot be "let" out of the bag; it's inanimate...
--Rick Drake 03:34, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
That argument does not track. People often anthropomorphize inanimate things. Pop etymologies are often semi-logical and satisfying, but that doesn't mean that they are correct. That said, the explanation here certainly 'seems' more likely. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:50, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Orgin of sucker?[edit]

Is this the origin of "sucker", meaning a looser? How about "suck" as in "this sucks!"? --Apoc2400 (talk) 17:17, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

No, that's short for cocksucker.

"The cat's in the bag!"[edit]

This? — Nahum Reduta [talk|contribs] 06:07, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Thai version of trick?[edit]

I have removed the Thai language version as it appears to bear no relation to either the trick or the phrase. Rubensni (talk) 19:21, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

Gold Rush[edit]

The gold rush explanation has an air of original research, and doesn't explain why similar phrases appears in so many European languages. (talk) 11:26, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

"Poke" is a current expression in the USA?[edit]

I'm a middle-aged American, reasonably well-read and well-educated, and I've never heard the word "poke" used to mean a small bag, except for the phrase "pig in a poke", which I came to Wikipedia to research. Rclocher3 (talk) 16:27, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

I don't think the word on its own is used anywhere nowadays. Centuries ago it was used in Europe, the same phrase existing in many languages. No idea if it was every used in North America.
.--Gronky (talk) 05:55, 22 November 2013 (UTC)