[hawgz-hed, hogz-]


a large cask, especially one containing from 63 to 140 gallons (238 to 530 liters).
any of various units of liquid measure, especially one equivalent to 63 gallons (238 liters). Abbreviation: hhd


Origin of hogshead

1350–1400; Middle English hoggeshed, literally, hog's head; unexplained
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hogshead

Contemporary Examples of hogshead

Historical Examples of hogshead

  • They have brought a hogshead of beer, and are broaching it upon the high altar.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • When in hospital, chance had given him Hogshead Geoffrey for bed-neighbour.

    A Nest of Spies

    Pierre Souvestre

  • Then, to repeat my interrogatory, what was you a doing of with the kitten in the hogshead?

  • I wish Mr. Schultz were in a hogshead of it, with the top on.

  • The utmost of his generosity to Amhurst, that I ever heard of, was a hogshead of claret!


    Sir Walter Scott

British Dictionary definitions for hogshead



a unit of capacity, used esp for alcoholic beverages. It has several values, being 54 imperial gallons in the case of beer and 52.5 imperial gallons in the case of wine
a large cask used for shipment of wines and spirits

Word Origin for hogshead

C14: of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hogshead

"large cask or barrel," late 14c., presumably on some perceived resemblance. The original liquid measure was 63 old wine gallons (by a statute of 1423); later anywhere from 100 to 140 gallons. Borrowed into other Germanic languages, oddly, as ox-head (cf. Dutch okshoofd, German oxhoft, Swedish oxhufvud).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper