A devastated student flew 400 miles to meet her lover in Amsterdam only to be told she was the victim of a cruel 'pull a pig' prank.

Sophie Stevenson, 24, from Stoke, forked out £350 on a flight after being invited to the Dutch capital by her Jesse Mateman, 21, who she met in Barcelona in August.

But when Miss Stevenson arrived at her hotel she received a text message telling her it was all a ruse and she had been stood up by the heartless Dutchman who told her, 'You've been pigged'.
Daily Mail

Absolutely new slang for me but luckily the excerpt clearly tells me what “to be pigged” means.

I'm guessing that it is related to the informal BrEng expression, pig out: To eat ravenously; gorge oneself: “pigged out on cake”, and according to Macmillan Dictionary, to eat an extremely large amount of food

Oxford Dictionaries lists a long list of idioms citing the four-hoofed Suidae but no mention of the idiom used in the The Daily Mail

  • Any idea as to when to be pigged was coined?
  • Is the phrase also used in the US? If not what would be its equivalent? Prank doesn't seem to cut the mustard.
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    Means nothing to me (British speaker), and even with the story I'm not sure precisely what it means; and I can't see the relevance of the phrase you've mentioned. My immediate thought is that it might be a Dutch expression, which the trickster used in English. – Colin Fine Oct 9 '17 at 13:09
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    Like you I had never seen that wording before, but my reading of the context and colocations says, contrary to you, it is likely to mean prank or ruse and have nothing to do with eating a lot. – Mitch Oct 9 '17 at 14:28
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    @Mari-LouA: As others have said, "pig" in this context simply means unattractive person, as in the phrase "pig ugly". No relation to "pig out". – psmears Oct 9 '17 at 16:20
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    I'd say she "bought a pig in a poke." – Jim Green Oct 9 '17 at 17:27
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    Good grief, what a bunch of assholes. – MissMonicaE Oct 10 '17 at 15:46

Deriving as it does from "Pull-A-Pig", which is described as a "drinking game" by Clare Longrigg in the 26 Aug 1993 issue of The Guardian ("Poison ivy and the wallflowers"), 'she is/was/has been pigged' probably originated sometime historically proximate to that publication.

In brief, "Pull-A-Pig...is a drinking game in which men compete to see who can pick up the ugliest woman" (op. cit.). The 'pig' in question, thus, is a derogatory slang reference to an "unattractive woman". OED describes that sense of 'pig' as "chiefly US"; however, I found no evidence that "Pull-A-Pig" is known in the US, and use of 'pull' in the sense of to "pick up (a partner), esp. for sexual intercourse; to seduce" is described by OED as "Brit. slang".

'Pigged' in the use quoted in the question ("you've been pigged") is likely to have sprung from a play on a slurred pronunciation of 'picked' ("she was picked/pigged"), a slur perhaps thought amusing by the semi-adolescent males who might find such a game appealing. Alternatively, of course, 'pigged' may simply have sprung organically from the linguistic demand to name the objects of the "Pull-A-Pig" 'game'.

The historically parallel and equivalent name of the US drinking 'game' (more appropriately called a crime, viz. "Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress"), if it existed, might have been, variously, "Dig-A-Dog" (midwest) or "Skin-A-Skank" (east coast), although more broadly "Pick-A-Pig" might have been adopted coast-to-coast.

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    +1 Wow! How did you find that? Impressively, the definition only appeared on Urban Dictionary 10 years later. – Armfoot Oct 10 '17 at 10:10

Seems like an unusual expression, which means, the Urban Dictionary might be the only source at the moment to explain it. In 2013, a user, awbladerunner, defined it as:

Pull a Pig is a game where a group of guys go out and they win the game by pulling the ugliest looking woman.

And so, to be pigged means to be the victim of the prank. The "winner" is the one who gets the "ugliest" girl, 'pig' presumably being metonymy for 'ugly'.

According to The Sun, the expression was possibly popularized from a dating site called Pull The Pig started in 2014 by Josie Cunningham.

The site was apparently aimed at "average-looking women" though currently the website is blank and says it is being updated.

  • A local newspaper (of all sources) also corroborates what the pig is that's pulled. – Andrew Leach Oct 9 '17 at 18:15
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    I think the missing link here is the semantic creep from "fat" to "ugly." – Casey Oct 9 '17 at 20:25
  • In American English, this is called a "dogfight". There was a movie about it with that name. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogfight_(film) – Barmar Oct 9 '17 at 22:11
  • OED gives for ‘pig’: ‘A woman. In early use apparently as an endearment. In later use derogatory (chiefly US): a female prostitute; a promiscuous or unattractive woman.’ So the creep seems to be from sexually available to undesirable rather than from fat to ugly. – Spagirl Oct 10 '17 at 0:14
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    You might note that "pull" means to successfully approach or hit on someone e.g. at a bar or club; it's a familiar phrase in the UK but not in the US. – Russell Borogove Oct 10 '17 at 2:07

The answer presents itself from the definition of the prank as "Pull a Pig". Wherever it originates the use of it can be contracted as it is in the example to mean "You've been pranked": "You've been pigged". Heartbreaking and costly trick to play on anyone.

  • I think it's a bit more specific than that. – Casey Oct 9 '17 at 20:21

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