Intermediate+ Word of the Day: hog

hog (noun, verb) /hɔg, hɑg/ LISTEN

"Stop hogging the remote! I want to choose the channel!"

A hog is a pig, especially a male one, that is raised for human consumption. In US English, a hog is any pig. In UK English, you can use hog for a castrated male pig. Informally, hog is used to refer to a selfish or extremely dirty person. As a verb, hog is used in informal conversation and it means ‘to take more than what is appropriate of something’ or ‘to hold onto something and not give other people a chance to use it.’

Example sentences

  • Helen's small farm has a cow and three hogs.
  • He's such a hog and never shares anything!
  • Marian's kids hogged all the fried potatoes and there weren't any left for my daughter!
  • Don't hog the remote!

Words often used with hog

live high on the hog (or live high off the hog; US): live very luxuriously. Example: “After winning the lottery, the Mortimers lived high on the hog.”

In pop culture

Watch the trailer for the movie Wild Hogs with Tim Allen and John Travolta here:

Did you know?

The word hog is sometimes used to refer to large motorcycles. The nickname is said to have started in the 1920s, when a team of racers was winning many races on large Harley Davidson motorcycles. They had a piglet (a small pig) as a mascot and brought it out every time they won, to celebrate. Soon, hog was used to refer to Harley Davidson motorcycles. In the 1980s, the newly created Harley Davidson Owner’s Group (H.O.G.) took advantage of the nickname, though these days hog is used in reference to any large motorcycle.

Other forms

hoggish (adjective), hogger (noun), hoglike (adjective)


Hog dates back to the early 14th century, as the Middle English noun hogge, meaning ‘a swine,’ particularly a castrated male meant for slaughter. There are, however, some records that imply its use in Old English a few centuries earlier, in related words like hogaster (which could be a one-year-old hog, a young sheep before its first shearing, or even a young horse, older than one year). Its origin is uncertain, though some linguists believe it may have come from British Celtic, and is therefore related to the Welsh hwch and the Cornish hogh, both of which mean ‘swine.’ The sense narrowed to (mostly male) pigs (excluding sheep and horses) by the mid-14th century, and expanded to include wild boar in the late 15th century. Hog has been used figuratively for ‘a greedy or gluttonous person’ since around the year 1400. Hog, meaning ‘a Harley Davidson motorcycle,’ was first used in 1967, and expanded to other large motorcycles in the 1970s. As a verb meaning ‘to greedily take more than appropriate’ or ‘to refuse to share,’ hog dates back to the late 19th century. It was first used in US English, and comes from the figurative sense of the noun.

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