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Hog

seems to refer to age more than to any specific animal. Thus, boars of the second year, sheep between the time of their being weaned and shorn, colts, and bullocks a year old, are all called hogs or hoggets. A boar three years old is a “hog-steer.”

⁂ Some say a hogget is a sheep after its first shearing, but a “hogget-fleece” is the first shearing.

To go the whole hog. An American expression meaning unmixed democratical principles. It is used in England to signify a “thorough goer” of any kind. In Virginia the dealer asks the retail butcher if “he means to go the whole hog, or to take only certain joints, and he regulates his price accordingly.” (Men and Manners of America.)

⁂ Mahomet forbade his followers to eat one part of the pig, but did not particularise what part he intended. Hence, strict Mahometans abstain from pork altogether, but those less scrupulous eat any part they fancy. Cowper refers to this in the lines:

“With sophistry their sauce they sweeten,

Till quite from tail to snout ʹtis eaten.”


Love of the World Reproved.

Another explanation is this: A hog in Ireland is slang for “a shilling,” and to go the whole hog means to spend the whole shilling. (See Hog.)

You have brought your hogs to a fine market. You have made a pretty kettle of fish.


“You have brought your hogs to a fine market.”—Howell (1659).

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Hockey
Hocking
Hockley-i-the-Hole
Hocus Pocus
Hocussed
Hodeken
Hodge
Hodge-podge
Hodur
Hog
Hog
Hogs-Norton
Hog in Armour
Hogg
Hogarth (William)
Hogen Mogen
Hogmanay, Hogmena, or Hagmena
Hogshead
Hoi Polloi (The)
Hoist
Hoity-toity