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English wine cask units

From Late Middle English hogshead, hagyshed, hogeyshed, hoggesyde, hokkeshed, Middle English hoggeshed, hogges-hed, hogeshed, hoggeshede, hoggesheed, hoggesheudes, hoggesheved, hoggishede, hoggisheed, hoggyssehed, hogyshed, hoogeshed (measure of liquid capacity equivalent to about 63 gallons; large barrel or cask, literally hog’s head),[1] from hog, hogge (swine, especially a castrated male swine) + hed (animal or human head), equivalent to hog +‎ 's +‎ head.[2] The connection between the cask and the head of a hog is uncertain, but may refer to the shape of the cask. The word has often been borrowed into other languages as “ox-head”.[3]



hogshead (plural hogsheads)

  1. (Britain) An English measure of capacity for liquids, containing 63 wine gallons, or about 52+12 imperial gallons; a half pipe.
    Synonym: hhd. (abbreviation)
    • 1632, attributed to J. Day, A Pvblication of Gviana’s Plantation: [], London: Printed by William Iones for Thomas Paine, [], OCLC 58648347, page 15:
      [...] their vessels for use are made some of clay, of which sort some are so great as that they will containe more then one hogshead of water.
    • 1713, [Roger North], “Of Fishing for Carriage”, in A Discourse of Fish and Fish-ponds, [], London: Printed for E[dmund] Curll, [], OCLC 221449300, page 62:
      The best Veſſel for Conveyance, (if you carry above 20 Miles) is, a great Tun that holds five Hogſheads; but if no more than 10, 15, or 20 Miles, ordinary Hogſheads will do well enough. I know by Experience you may ſafely carry 300 Carps, ſix and ſeven Inches long, in one Hogſhead; but from ſeven to a Foot, not ſo many by a fourth Part.
    • 1882, James E[dwin] Thorold Rogers, “Weights and Measures”, in A History of Agriculture and Prices in England [], volume IV (1401–1582), Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, OCLC 491557107, page 205:
      Again, by 28 Hen. VIII, cap. 14, it is re-enacted that the tun of wine should contain 252 gallons, a butt of Malmsey 126 gallons, a pipe 126 gallons, a tercian or puncheon 84 gallons, a hogshead 63 gallons, a tierce 41 gallons, a barrel 31½ gallons, a rundlet 18½ gallons.
  2. A large barrel or cask of indefinite contents, especially one containing from 100 to 140 gallons.



  1. ^ hogges-hēd, n.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ hog(ge, n.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007; “hēd, n.(1)” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  3. ^ hogshead, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford: Oxford University Press, November 2010; “hogshead, n.” in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press.

Further reading[edit]



From English hogshead.


hogshead m (plural hogsheads)

  1. hogshead (an English measure of liquids)