Hogwash is an interesting word that has its origins in the Middle Ages. Hogwash may be considered an idiom, which is a word, group of words and phrases that has a figurative definition that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of the word hogwash, its etymology and some examples of its use in sentences.

Hogwash is a word that sounds as if it were describing using soap to give a pig a good scrub. However, hogwash is not a term that concerns washing a hog, it is actually another word for nonsense, something that is not true or something that does not make sense. Something that is considered hogwash is confused. The word hogwash is usually considered informal or slang vocabulary, and is not used in literary writing. It is most often used in spoken English, though the term may be found in a dictionary search. Using an online translator may result in a literal translation, which does not take into account the figurative meaning of hogwash.

The term dates to the Middle Ages, when cookery became an art. It is well known that swine are not particularly picky about what they eat. Cooks would collect the leftovers and scraps from meals and meal preparations in a crock or bucket, runoff from a brewery may have been included. This mixture of food bits, including food that was rotten, was known as swill or wash. One may imagine the aroma of this naturally fermented brew. The staff poured this concoction into the yard for hogs and pigs to eat. When one considers the smell that must have ensued, it is easy to understand the current usage of hogwash. The word hogges wash first appeared in the 1400s in its literal sense, meaning swill for a hog. By the 1600s hog wash was used in an informal manner to mean an alcoholic beverage that did not have a strong enough alcohol content for the drinker. Shortly after that, the term came to mean anything that was not up to par or worthless. By the 1800s, the word hogwash underwent a drastic change in American English, and was applied to any ideas, art, or projects that someone deemed to be worthless. Often, the word hogwash is used in anger, or as an interjection. Note the evolution of the word, first rendered as two separate words, then rendered as one word with no spaces. Compound words often follow this pattern. Compounds or compound words are words that are derived from two separate words joined together. An open compound word is a noun that is composed of two words that are often used together, yet still maintain a space between the two words. This type of compound is also referred to as a spaced compound word. As compound words are used more and more frequently, they are often joined together without a space or hyphen. These types of words are called closed compound words. Hogwash is a mass noun, which is a noun that does not have a plural form. Suggestions for synonyms of the word hogwash that may be found in a thesaurus are: balderdash, baloney, bunk, ridiculousness, trash.


Former CIA director John Brennan struck back at President Trump on Thursday, writing in a blistering op-ed that Trump’s claims of no collusion with Russia in the 2016 presidential election are “hogwash.” (The Washington Post)

Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Fitz Jackson has described as “hogwash” and an “invention” the explanation offered by former National Security Minister Robert Montague as to why he overruled the recommendations of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) and other security authorities in granting a gun licence to a man of questionable character. (The Loop Jamaica)

The President Muhammadu Buhari administration has repeatedly demonstrated its strict adherence to the rule of law, therefore the alleged plan to arrest or harass the mentioned leaders is hogwash and baseless.  (The Sundiata Post)

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