Pork Lion Bone

« previous post | next post »

Seen by François Lang at the meat counter at The Great Wall in Rockville, MD:

François remarks:  "It took me a minute to realize that the sign meant 'Loin Bone'!"

The Chinese characters say:



"dragon bone"

In different contexts, that can also mean "keel (beam along the underside of a ship’s hull); fossil bones used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM); breastbone (of a bird); spareribs; pork bones; thin trunk; jujube; water wheel; mainstay; stone embankment; carpus; fine horse; structure used to bear the weight; (Hakka, Zhangzhou and Taiwanese Hokkien) vertebra".  (Wiktionary)

Ben Zimmer reports a similar "pork lion" sighting — at a buffet last year at the Gaylord Resort in National Harbor, MD, for staff of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, ironically enough.

Selected readings


  1. Peter Taylor said,

    August 17, 2023 @ 6:12 pm

    "Apple Cider Braised Cabbage" is also interesting. Presumably it should be processed as "cabbage braised in apple cider", but "apple cider" strikes me as a tautology. OED says of cider,

    Formerly including fermented drinks prepared from some other fruits.

    but nothing in the context of its quotations suggests what such fruits might be. The earliest quotation already distinguishes cider from perry, which counts against the most obvious guess.

  2. Jonathan Smith said,

    August 17, 2023 @ 6:47 pm

    I think liông-kut means 'spine/backbone' not 'vertebra' in Taiwanese. There are other expressions where liông~lîng means the back, like lia̍h-lîng 'give massage/back rub'.

    The Wiktionary style of employing written representations as "headwords," then listing masses of words of totally different languages beneath these as if they were somehow facets of the written representations, is very weird and ought to be fixed in contexts like LL; here, for instance, Hakka, Hokkien, etc. are not "different contexts."

  3. Victor Mair said,

    August 18, 2023 @ 2:24 am

    "contexts"…"are not 'different contexts.'"

  4. Andrew McCarthy said,

    August 18, 2023 @ 3:20 am

    @Peter Taylor

    Another type of cider is peach cider. Apple cider is admittedly much more common, but you can still buy peach cider nowadays.

  5. Adam C said,

    August 18, 2023 @ 4:11 pm

    "Cider" on its own means something different in the UK than in the US.
    Tomato ketchup also seems like a tautology nowadays, but at the time it was invented ketchup could be made from mushrooms, amongst other things.

  6. Yerushalmi said,

    August 21, 2023 @ 4:25 am

    Same mistake was made on Family Feud:

    "LOIN! L-I-O-N LOIN!"


RSS feed for comments on this post