Taking idioms seriously

Cartoon Thursday continues with today’s Mother Goose and Grimm:

Mother Goose wants Grimm not to reveal a secret, not to let the cat out of the bag. Grimm agrees that he won’t let the cat, Attila, out of the bag he has him in. A play on an ambiguity between literal and idiomatic (and figurative) readings.

3 Responses to “Taking idioms seriously”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    I have read somewhere — I know not where, and it may have been speculation or sheer invention — that the origin of “let the cat out of the bag” has to do with failing in an attempt to get someone else to “buy a pig in a poke”.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Michael Quinion reports a version of the “pig in a poke” explanation, here, but he’s dubious about it. In his view, the explanation is still unknown. (The expression has been around since the 18th century.)

      • Robert Coren Says:

        Well, I see his point about the difficulty of concealing a cat in a bag; but maybe the cat would have been drugged?

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