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go the whole hog

To do something as entirely or completely as possible; to reserve or hold back nothing.


  • Likely a folk term from the practice of livestock and butchery; “whole hog” or refers to letting no portion of the animal carcass go to waste. For example, skin is tanned for leather, sweetbreads are harvested, and commonly cast off pieces such as hooves are pickled.
  • The term was likely first recorded in Cowper’s poem “The love of the world reproved”. A poem teasing Muslims about suggested ambiguity over their religious prohibition on eating pork. By 1830 the phrase had become popular across America being used in newspapers, and political campaigns. At this time it migrated across to Britain where the phrase was adopted.

If you can afford a new computer, you might as well go the whole hog and get the latest and greatest.

Submitted on September 01, 2009


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