lipstick on a pig

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 2 04:34:20 UTC 2014

On Thu, May 1, 2014 at 10:15 PM, Randy Alexander
<strangeguitars at> wrote:

> Was just watching "They Live" (1988 Movie) with my kids and was reminded of
> this discussion when the main character was calling out a female alien:
> "That's like pouring perfume on a pig!"

I see that "perfume on a pig" has come up on the list a few times,
including Grant Barrett's locating in 2008 of a 1980 usage of "you can
clean up a pig, put a ribbon on its tail, spray it with perfume, but
it is still a pig."

Here a couple early sightings of "perfume on a pig" with a related
expression tacked on at the end.  (I feel compelled to send this along
in part because I'm fascinated by the appearance of The Fool-Killer in
Boomer, North Carolina ca. 1920.)

-- Bonnie


The Republican bosses at Washington are making another effort to
whitewash "Senator" Huckleberry.  Sorter like putting perfume on a
pig.  [From "Idiotorials," The Fool-Killer (Boomer, NC), September,
1922; via]

Playing classical musical for radio listeners, said a musician the
other day, "is like wasting Quelque Fleurs perfume on a pig."  He
plays by ear, so maybe that's why.  [From William Moyes, "Behind the
Mike," The Morning Oregonian (Portland), 31 October 1932, p. 4; via]

Lots of so-called culture is just so much paint and perfume on a pig
pen.  [From "Rip Saw Dust," The Pella (Iowa), 29 December 1904, p. 2;

The American Dialect Society -

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