Road hog

Road hog is an idiom that dates back decades. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom road hog, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

A road hog is a driver of a vehicle who takes up more than his fair share of space on the road, straddles two lanes, drives fast and recklessly, or doesn’t consider the safety and rights of others on the road. A road hog is a dangerous driver and may cut off other drivers or prevent them from driving in their rightful space. The expression road hog equates an inconsiderate driver to the animal, the hog, which is considered to be greedy and selfish. The idiom road hog came into use in the mid-1880s, which is interesting, because the automobile was invented at that time (though there were very few of them on the road.)


Don’t be a road hog: if you sit in the middle lane it could cost you a £100 fine and three penalty points (Edinburgh Journal)

Are you a defensive driver, a weaver, a road hog, a speeder, or a tailgater? (Jamaica Gleaner)

If the SUV driver has been behaving and not cutting anyone else off or otherwise being a road hog, then I will let it in graciously. (Democrat and Chronicle)

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