The origins of “piggy bank”

I hadn’t ever wondered about why people save spare change in a pig-shaped china container. But the ever-interesting Federal Reserve Bank of New York blog Liberty Street has just told me. It seems that it originally had nothing to do with pigs.

The old English word “pygg” means a type of clay, out of which containers were made for storage of things, including money. These containers were known as “pygg jars”. Over time, in a wonderful case of linguistic evolution, “pygg” became “pig” and the containers started to be made in the shape of pigs. This fashion spread globally – the blog has a picture of an Indonesian piggy bank from the fifteenth century, located in the Metropolitan Museum.

Piggy bank

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