to put lipstick on a pig

Click below to listen to the phrase.


Choose the correct definition : a, b or c.

a) to try to make something more attractive

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

This expression ’to put lipstick on a pig,’ is used when people make superficial or cosmetic changes to a product or service, hoping that it will make it more attractive.

French translation

cacher la misère

How NOT to translate : *mettre du rouge à lèvres à un cochon


Examples in context

‘Eurozone economic growth loses momentum.’

Eurozone economic growth lost momentum in the first three months of 2014, official figures show, with the growth rate unchanged from the previous quarter at 0.2%.

The BBC’s Andrew Walker points out that Greece and Spain have the worst jobless figures, as about one in four of those wanting to work is out of a job.

Meanwhile, Ashley James from Royal Bank of Canada said : "There is no need to be all doom-and-gloom about this - after all, modest growth is what was expected, and modest growth is what we got - but to attempt to present this in a positive light would be akin to putting lipstick on a pig."

BBC News, 15th May 2014


"Little more than lipstick on a pig.” Environment groups not happy with Ireland’s climate change plan.

The governments climate change plan has been criticised by activists with one group describing it as “little more than lipstick on a pig.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan today published the Heads of the Climate Action and Low-Carbon Development Bill which sets out the ambition for the transition to a low-carbon economy by 2050 but the lack of specific targets has been criticised.

The Journal, 23rd April 2014


Everyday usage

The dude in that car yard just put a body kit on that joke of a car. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig.

Nice clothes on me is like putting lipstick on a pig, I always look awful.

c) to make something ugly

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

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