- an oblong mass of metal that has been run while still molten into a mold of sand or the like, especially such a mass of iron from a blast furnace.
- one of the molds for such masses of metal.
- metal in the form of such masses.
- pig iron.
verb (used with object), pigged, pig·ging.
verb (used without object), pigged, pig·ging.
- to live like a pig, especially in dirt.
- to lead a disorganized, makeshift life; live without plan or pattern.
Origin of pig1
- a mass of metal, such as iron, copper, or lead, cast into a simple shape for ease of storing or transportation
- a mould in which such a mass of metal is formed
verb pigs, pigging or pigged
Word Origin for pig
probably from Old English *picg, found in compounds, ultimate origin unknown. Originally "young pig" (the word for adults was swine). Apparently related to Low German bigge, Dutch big ("but the phonology is difficult" -- OED). The meaning "oblong piece of metal" is first attested 1580s, on the notion of "large mass." Applied to persons, usually in contempt, since 1540s; the derogatory slang meaning "police officer" has been in underworld slang since at least 1811.
The pigs frisked my panney, and nailed my screws; the officers searched my house, and seized my picklock keys. ["Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence," London, 1811]
Another Old English word for "pig" was fearh, related to furh "furrow," from PIE *perk- "dig, furrow" (cf. Latin porc-us "pig," see pork). "This reflects a widespread IE tendency to name animals from typical attributes or activities" [Lass]. Synonyms grunter, porker are from sailors' and fishermen's euphemistic avoidance of uttering the word pig at sea, a superstition perhaps based on the fate of the Gadarene swine, who drowned. The image of a pig in a poke is attested from 1520s (see poke (n.3)). Flying pigs as a type of something unreal is from 1610s.
1670s, "to huddle together," from pig (n.). Related: Pigged; pigging. To pig out "eat voraciously" attested by 1979.
Live in a slovenly way, as in Ten roommates shared that small house, and as you might guess they were pigging it. [Slang; late 1800s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with pig
- pig in a poke
- pig it
- pig out
- in a pig's eye
- like pigs in clover
- make a pig of oneself
- when pigs fly