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English wine cask units.jpg
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From Middle English hoggeshed (literally, hog's head). More at hog, head. Often borrowed into other languages as “ox-head”.



hogshead (plural hogsheads)

  1. An English measure of capacity for liquids, containing 63 wine gallons, or about 52 1/2 imperial gallons; a half pipe.
    • 1632, attributed to J. Day, A Publication of Guiana’s Plantation, London: Thomas Paine, p. 15,[1]
      [] 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.
    • 1882, James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, p.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 31.5 gallons, a rundlet 18.5 gallons.
  2. A large cask or barrel, of indefinite contents; especially one containing from 100 to 140 gallons.
    • c. 1610, William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale, Act III, Scene 3,[2]
      [] now the ship boring the moon with her main-mast, and anon swallowed with yest and froth, as you'ld thrust a cork into a hogshead.
    • 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, London: W. Taylor, p. 100,[3]
      [] the Wind blowing from the Shore, nothing came to Land that Day, but Pieces of Timber, and a Hogshead which had some Brazil Pork in it, but the Salt-water and the Sand had spoil’d it.
    • 1900, Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim, Chapter 5,[4]
      turning his head he saw, in his own words, something round and enormous, resembling a sixteen-hundred-weight sugar-hogshead wrapped in striped flannelette, up-ended in the middle of the large floor space in the office.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, in A Cuckoo in the Nest[5]:
      “[…] the awfully hearty sort of Christmas cards that people do send to other people that they don't know at all well. You know. The kind that have mottoes like
        Here's rattling good luck and roaring good cheer, / With lashings of food and great hogsheads of beer. […]”




hogshead m (plural hogsheads)

  1. hogshead (an English measure of liquids)