whole hog, the/to go

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go whole hog

to do everything possible; to be extravagant. Let's go whole hog. Order steak and lobster. Show some restraint. Don't go whole hog all the time.
See also: go, hog, whole
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

go whole hog

Also, go the limit. Do something completely or thoroughly; proceed as far as possible. For example, Instead of just painting the room, why not go whole hog and redecorate it completely? or Let's go the limit and dig up the entire garden. Although the precise source of whole hog is disputed, this colloquialism was first recorded in 1828 (in Japhet by Frederick Marryat) as go the whole hog. Today the article is usually omitted. Go the limit, also a colloquialism, dates from the mid-1900s. Also see all out.
See also: go, hog, whole
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

whole hog, the/to go

The ultimate extent; to do something completely or thoroughly. The precise meaning and origin of this cliché have been lost. Charles Funk thought it came from a poem by William Cowper (1731–1800) that told of the Islamic prohibition against eating pork: “But for one piece they thought it hard From the whole hog to be debar’d.” A more likely source is the Irish word hog for the British shilling, American ten-cent piece, and other coins, whereby “going the whole hog” would mean spending the entire shilling or dime at one time. On the other hand, Frederick Marryat, writing in 1836 (Japhet), called it an American term. It may be derived from the American colloquialism to hog, meaning to appropriate greedily. Whichever is true, the term is a cliché on both sides of the Atlantic.
See also: go, whole
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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