4

The saying, “A pig in a poke” quoted in Maureen Dowd's article in New York Times (August 10) referring to Donald Trump’s incendiary remarks in Presidential campaign debate (See https://english.stackexchange.com/users/3119/yoichi-oishi?) reminded me of a popular Japanese proverb – Yoto kuniku, which is a direct translation of Chinese proverb, gua yan tou mai gourou-“sell dog meat by displaying the head of lamb at the store-front,” meaning a crooked business practice.

I think “A pig in a poke” and “sell dog meat by displaying the head of lamb” are similar in spirit, however, the former hides the pig, the latter on the contrary shows off a false bait, namely false description of contents in legal terms.

Are there any English counterparts to Japanese / Chinese saying, “Sell dog meat by displaying the head of lamb”?

6
  • 7
    This practice is called bait and switch but I can’t think of a saying that advises someone on how to do it.
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 2:45
  • 2
    Sell the sizzle, not the steak. Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 3:18
  • "Sell a bill of goods" word-detective.com/2013/05/bill-of-goods
    – user662852
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 15:55
  • I always suspected things about the local Chinese takeaway, but I never knew they had an expression about it! :)
    – Wolfie Inu
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 12:50
  • The point about the pig in the poke is that it might not be a pig at all. The seller tells the buyer it's a pig and he buys it without checking.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 7:56

3 Answers 3

6

Bait-and-switch is a common expression for appearing to offer one thing yet selling another.

1

This reminds me a little of mutton dressed as lamb which can result in a slap in the face if said within earshot of any number of 'older' females.

1
  • 1
    It's a likely to be muttered by ‘older’ females, in my limited experience. Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 0:30
0

The nearest I can think of is window dressing, the second meaning:

the act of decorating and arranging products to display in a store window

something that is intended to make a person or thing seem better or more attractive but that does not have any real importance or effect

Merriam Webster

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.