I need a proverb with ironical sense. To answer a "when" question with the meaning never or nobody knows when. for example, in Russian it will be like - когда рак на горе свистнет. I'm interested in something similar in English.

  • Did you check this? – mathewb Aug 30 '18 at 14:47
  • See this english.stackexchange.com/questions/318185/…. – user3395 Aug 30 '18 at 14:59
  • Both answers here are implying never. Do you mean that to be the implication—or are you looking to express something that will happen, you just don't know when? – Jason Bassford Aug 30 '18 at 20:19
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    You can include the Russian phrase here, but it's also helpful to include the English translation, the non-literal meaning, explaining when and why you use it, and providing an example sentence or dialogue. Here are two examples: example 1, example 2. – Em. Aug 30 '18 at 23:35
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    @Em. After fiddling around with Google Translate, I think the correct translation is "when the lobster on the mountain whistles". Or perhaps "crayfish" instead of "lobster". Or maybe even "crab". In any case, I agree that adding the English translation to the question would be helpful. – MJ713 Sep 5 '18 at 21:19

I think that the idiom when pigs fly is probably the most popular and well-known English expression when it comes to describing the impossibility of something happening in a humorous way. In other words, it's used to describe a situation that is either very unlikely to happen or simply impossible to happen at all. Here's how the Collins English Dictionary defines this phrase:

If you say 'when pigs fly' after someone has said that something might happen, you are emphasizing that you think it is very unlikely.


— When would they be hired again?
— Perhaps, as the saying goes, when pigs fly.

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Maybe when hell freezes over or a cold day in hell (that is, never).

You would use them like

It will be a cold day in hell before I ever trust Jonathan again.
I should apologize to Barbara? When hell freezes over!

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