When pigs fly

Most Important Level 5

"…when pigs fly" / "That will happen when pigs fly."

Meaning: never

Similar Expressions
  • He will admit he was wrong when pigs fly.
  • There is no chance that he will admit he was wrong.
  • He will never admit he was wrong.
  • There isn't a snowflakes chance in hell that he will admit he was wrong.
When do we use it?

This is just a fun expression to use when you want to make your language funny and interesting. It is just a different way to say never. We can use it sometimes, but it is best to not overuse it.

How do we use it?

We put this expression at the end of a sentence after saying the action that will never happen or never be done. Notice that the first part of the sentence is in the future tense.
  • I'll apologize when pigs fly.
  • She will stop being selfish when pigs fly.
  • Politicians will stop lying when pigs fly.
When we use the expression "when pigs fly" the thing we think will never happen is expressed in a positive sentence.
  • He will stop drinking when pigs fly.
    (=He will never stop drinking. / He won't stop drinking.)
Example English Conversations

A) James needs to stop being lazy and work hard.
B) That will probably happen when pigs fly.

A) Gary says that you need to pay him for the plate you broke at his house.
B) That was an accident! I'm not paying him.
A) He says you need to.
B) Tell him that I will pay him when pigs fly.

Adding expressions and idioms to your vocabulary will help you become a better English speaker. You do not need to learn a million expressions or idioms at one time! If you study new English expressions and idioms steadily and consistently, then your vocabulary will get better and better. Use these free English lessons to expand your vocabulary and learn useful English idioms, slang, and expressions.