Definition of hogshead in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhɒɡzˌhɛd/
(abbreviation hhd)


1A large cask.
Example sentences
  • Within months he had joined forces with him to make their first large shipment to London: 48 hogsheads and a quarter cask, sent to Robert Blake Byass, who was to become their UK agent.
  • He continued to grow limited amounts of coffee, however, and retained two skilled slaves to construct the hogsheads and barrels needed to ship his much diminished crop to port.
  • Hurriedly, but with practiced ease and an air of calm and surety that she knew would alleviate some of the young man's terror, she pushed aside several hogshead barrels until she reached the back wall of the storeroom.
1.1A measure of capacity for wine, equal to 52.5 imperial gallons or 63 US gallons (238.7 litres).
Example sentences
  • City Tavern not only resuscitates these old style beverages; it sells hogsheads of them.
  • In 1754 Maryland residents celebrated the twenty-third birthday of Frederick Calvert, Lord Baltimore, with a ball, cannon fire, a bonfire on the common, and a hogshead of punch.
  • To a hogshead of wine, add a bowlful of red wine pips dried and then boiled.
1.2A measure of capacity for beer, equal to 54 imperial gallons or 64 US gallons (245.5 litres).
Example sentences
  • Thus ‘… if the party deceased were of good note, they will send to the wake hogsheads of excellent stale beer and wine from all parts, with other provisions, as beef & c.’
  • People were also smiling at Al, as he trudged up the hill with his accordion on his back and a hogshead of beer at his side.
  • He always gave them a hogshead of beer; and they all drank merrily to his health.


Middle English: from hog + head; the reason for the term is unknown.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: hogs|head

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