go the whole hog
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
go (the) whole hog
To do something in an unrestrained manner. We were only supposed to paint one room this weekend, but we went whole hog and painted three more.
go the whole hogBRITISH or
go whole hogAMERICAN
COMMON If someone goes the whole hog, they do something to the fullest extent possible. Note: A hog is a pig. We could be restrained and just have a main course — or go the whole hog and have all three courses. The victim had been identified, and the newspaper continued to go whole hog on the story. Note: This expression may have its origin in butchers asking their customers which part of the pig they wished to buy, or whether they would `go the whole hog' and buy the whole pig. Alternatively, `hog' was a slang term for a ten cent piece in America, and also for an Irish shilling, so the expression may originally have meant `spend the full amount'.
go the whole hogdo something completely or thoroughly. informal
The origin of the phrase is uncertain, but a fable in William Cowper's The Love of the World: Hypocrisy Detected ( 1779 ) is sometimes mentioned: certain Muslims, forbidden to eat pork by their religion but tempted to indulge in some, maintained that Muhammad had had in mind only one particular part of the animal. They could not agree which part that was, and as ‘for one piece they thought it hard From the whole hog to be debarred’ between them they ate the whole animal, each salving his conscience by telling himself that his own particular portion was not the one that had been forbidden. Go the whole hog is recorded as a political expression in the USA in the early 19th century; an 1835 source maintains that it originated in Virginia ‘marking the democrat from a federalist’.