high on the hog

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Alternative forms[edit]


An allusion to the best and costliest cuts of meat from a hog, considered to be parts above the belly such as the loin, rather than lower parts such as the feet, knuckles, hocks, belly, and jowls.

US, late 1800s;[1] popularized 1940s. The variant forms – live/eat and on/off – are attested since at least the 1930s.


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high on the hog (comparative higher on the hog, superlative highest on the hog)

  1. (idiomatic, US) Well off; living comfortably or extravagantly.
    Ever since his promotion, they’ve been living high on the hog.
    • 1912, George S. Jack, Edward Boyle Jacobs, History of Roanoke County, p. 29:
      With all the tenderloin, spareribs and backbones, we lived “high off the hog”.
    • 1927, Allegheny Regional Advisory Board, Proceedings of the regular meeting,, page 21:
      Down our way there is a favorite expression used quite often—“eating high on the hog”. That is what our competitors have been doing…
    • 1934, Time, Volume 24, p. 68:
      The synthetic belle wins the prize and her creators are eating high off the hog until the nation’s Press demands a look at the original.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Often used in the expressions “living high on the hog” and “eating high on the hog.”
  • The opposite, “low on the hog”, is much more rarely used.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The American Heritage dictionary of idioms, by Christine Ammer, pp. 300–301