tantony pig

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Contraction of Saint Anthony's pig in honour of St Anthony, patron saint of swineherds, frequently shown with a little pig by his side.


tantony pig (plural tantony pigs)

  1. (obsolete, slang) The favourite or smallest pig in the litter.
    • 1835, Wystan Hugh Auden, O What Is That Sound Which So Thrills The Ear
      And to follow the delicious breeze like a tantony pig .
    • 1838, Benjamin Webster, Acting National Drama
      I'm not going to tankety-tankety after his tail, like a Tantony pig any more.
    • 1984, Richard Fitzneale, Dialogus De Scaccario: The Course of the Exchequer and Constitutio Domus Regis (the Establishment of the Royal Household)
      This system (which had the disadvantage of discouraging good farming, since the worst animal — the 'Tantony pig' — counted for as much as the best) was only applicable when the court was in constant progress.
    • 2002, Murray J Levith, Shakespeare's Merchant and Marlowe's Other Play in The Merchant of Venice: Critical Essays, ed John Mahon, Ellen MacLeod Mahon
      A “Tantony pig” is the smallest of a litter, a detail that might recall Antonio's description of himself in Shakespeare's play as the “tainted wether of the flock".



Grose, Francis, The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue / Lexicon Balatronicum: A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence: altered and enlarged (London; 1811)