Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


A fello what does that is makin a pig out of hisself I think.

And Grace has got up at four o'clock every morning for a week and stayed up till midnight, trying to get that pig out of sight.

An old man, with the stump of a clay pipe in his lips, was turning his pig out to grass as I approached.

Greta, with one eye on her governess, was stealthily cutting a pig out of orange peel.

Before Ben got the pig out of the garden, the pig learned that Ben knew exactly what to do with a big stick.

I brought the pig out of the box, and exhibited the animal on a small table in the middle of the room.

Then they got into their boat, and managed to get the pig out into the channel and set it floating off again.


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.

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.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.