pig in a poke

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pig in a poke

Something that is purchased without having been thoroughly inspected, often with negative consequences. A "poke" is a bag. Purchasing a home without inspecting it first is like buying a pig in a poke.
See also: pig, poke
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

pig in a poke

An object offered in a manner that conceals its true value, especially its lack of value. For example, Eric believes that buying a used car is buying a pig in a poke. This expression alludes to the practice of substituting a worthless object, such as a cat, for the costly suckling pig a customer has bought and wrapping it in a poke, or sack. It dates from a time when buyers of groceries relied on a weekly farmers' market and, unless they were cautious enough to check the poke's contents, would not discover the skullduggery until they got home. The word poke dates from the 13th century but is now used mainly in the southern United States. The idiom was first recorded in John Heywood's 1562 collection of proverbs. Also see let the cat out of the bag.
See also: pig, poke
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a pig in a poke

OLD-FASHIONED
If you buy or accept a pig in a poke, you buy or accept something without examining it carefully first, with the result that it may be something of poor quality or not what you want. It's the doubts about the financial package that really worry me. I feel we could be buying a pig in a poke here. He won the election by promising an end to government corruption. But now it appears voters may have been sold a pig in a poke. Note: In the past, traders selling piglets at markets often had one pig on show and the rest in bags, or `pokes', ready to sell. Dishonest traders used to put cats in the bags instead of pigs to cheat their customers. `Let the cat out of the bag' is based on the same practice.
See also: pig, poke
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a pig in a poke

something that is bought or accepted without knowing its value or seeing it first.
In this expression, a poke is a small sack or bag, a sense which is now found chiefly in Scottish use.
1996 John Doran Red Doran I didn't want to sell the fellow a pig in a poke, so I explained that the ducks were bred only for laying.
See also: pig, poke
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

(buy) a pig in a ˈpoke

if you buy a pig in a poke, you buy or pay for something without seeing it or examining it carefully first: Make sure you take the car for a proper test drive — you don’t want to buy a pig in a poke, do you?
Poke is an old word for a small sack or bag.
See also: pig, poke
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

pig in a poke

Something that is offered in a manner that conceals its true nature or value.
See also: pig, poke
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

pig in a poke

An item bought without prior inspection. A poke is a “bag.” Purchasing something that you've not seen is the basis of the image—you don't know the condition of the pig in the bag until after you've bought it. It may be exactly what was advertised, or it may be something much worse than what the seller described—the swine!
See also: pig, poke
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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