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Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Idioms about pig

    on the pig's back, Australian Slang. in a fortunate position.
    pig it,
    1. to live like a pig, especially in dirt.
    2. to lead a disorganized, makeshift life; live without plan or pattern.

Origin of pig

First recorded before 1100; Middle English peg, pyg, pyge, pigge “young pig,” Old English picbrēd “pigbread,” i.e., acorns or stale bread used as fodder; further origin uncertain

Other definitions for pig (2 of 2)

[ pig ]
/ pɪg /

noun Scot. and North England.
an earthenware crock, pot, pitcher, or jar.
potter's clay; earthenware as a material.

Origin of pig

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English pygg; further origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


Where does pig come from?

Let’s start with a little swine quiz: what’s the difference between a pig and a hog? In the barnyard, a pig is a young domestic hog. Generally speaking, a pig weighs less than 120 pounds, the hog is much heavier.

Like the word dog, forms of the word pig and hog are found in Old English, however their ultimate origin is obscure. Etymologists think that final –g in dog, pig, and hog are related, though.

Discover more everyday words with unknown roots in our slideshow, “‘Dog,’ ‘Boy,’ And Other Words That We Don’t Know Where They Came From.”

Why do we raise pigs but eat pork? Same goes for cow vs. beef. It is because of the influence of French (and its higher social status) in Middle English. Via French, pork comes from the Latin porcus, “pig, hog.”

Now that you know how pigs got their name, why not find out how some of our other most beloved pets got theirs in the slideshow: “Where Do The Words For Our Pets Come From?”

Did you know … ?

Wild pigs were first domesticated in Asia about 7,000—9,000 years ago. The Chinese, it’s widely believed, actually ate an ancient form of bacon as early as 1500 b.c. Today, pork is the most consumed meat protein in the world, despite the eating of pork being considered taboo in several major cultures and religions.

For all their intelligence, pig has gotten a bad rap when it comes to its applications in the English language. Thanks to the animal’s mud-wallowing and eating habits, metaphorical uses of the word pig have negative connotations, commonly used to insult a person as dirty, fat, greedy, gluttonous, or objectionable in other ways (e.g., sexist pig). The word pig has also been used to disparage police officers and sex workers.

How to use pig in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pig

/ (pɪɡ) /

verb pigs, pigging or pigged
See also pig out

Word Origin for pig

C13 pigge, 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with pig


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.