A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 04, 2009
“Go the whole hog”

"To go the whole hog” (that is, to go all the way) is an Americanism that dates back to January 1828. Supporters of presidential candidate Andrew Jackson were called “whole hog” Jacksonites.

On January 19, 1828, a newspaper explained that the “while hog” phrase derived from a poem by William Cowper (1731-1800), “The Love of the World Reproved, or Hypocrisy Detected” (1779). The poem describes how “Mahomet” prohibited eating a part of the hog, but didn’t specify which part:

“But for one piece they thought it hard
From the whole hog to be debarr’d;
And set their wit at work to find
What joint the prophet had in mind.”


While the followers argued which part was not to be eaten, the whole hog was inspected and devoured:

“Thus, bit by bit, the world is swallow’d;
Each thinks his neighbour makes too free
Yet likes a slice as well as he;
With sophistry their sauce they sweeten,
Till quite from tail to snout ‘tis eaten.”


The Cowper poem was frequently reprinted in early American newspapers, often under the title “The Tale of the Mahometan Hog.” Modern newspapers often use “the whole hog” in headlines for culinary stories about pork dishes.


Wiktionary
to go the whole hog

(idiomatic) To do something as entirely or completely as possible; to reserve or hold back nothing.
If you can afford a new computer, you might as well go the whole hog and get the latest and greatest.

See also
. all the way
. full throttle
. go all out
. pull out all the stops
. the whole nine yards

Bartleby.com
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
To go the whole hog. An American expression meaning unmixed democratical principles. It is used in England to signify a “thorough goer” of any kind. In Virginia the dealer asks the retail butcher if “he means to go the whole hog, or to take only certain joints, and he regulates his price accordingly.” (Men and Manners of America.)

Mahomet forbade his followers to eat one part of the pig, but did not particularise what part he intended. Hence, strict Mahometans abstain from pork altogether, but those less scrupulous eat any part they fancy. Cowper refers to this in the lines:

“With sophistry their sauce they sweeten,
Till quite from tail to snout ’tis eaten.”
Love of the World Reproved. 

Another explanation is this: A hog in Ireland is slang for “a shilling,” and to go the whole hog means to spend the whole shilling.

Wikipedia: William Cowper
William Cowper (pronounced “Cooper”, IPA: /ˈkuːpɚ/) (26 November 1731 – 25 April 1800) was an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. He was a nephew of the poet Judith Madan.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: whole hog
Function: noun
Date: 1828
: the whole way or farthest limit —usually used adverbially in the phrase go the whole hog

(Oxford English Dictionary)
to go the whole hog: To go all the way, to do the thing thoroughly (slang); hence, in derivative uses.
[Many conjectural explanations have been offered. But cf. COWPER Hypocrisy Detected (1779) 12 [by J. Newton] But for one piece they thought it hard From the whole hog to be debarred; And set their wit at work to find What joint the prophet had in mind. Ibid. 22 Thus, Conscience freed from every clog, Mahometans eat up the hog.]
1828 in G. T. Curtis Life D. Webster (1870) I. 337 [Andrew Jackson] will either go with the party, as they say in New York, or go ‘the whole hog’, as it is phrased elsewhere.
1829 Virginia Herald (Fredericksburg) 28 Mar. 2/3 We all know that of late he has shown a disposition to become ‘a whole hog man’, but if he can swallow this, he can swallow anything.
1830 GALT Lawrie T. II. i. (1849) 43, I reckon Squire Lawrie may go the whole hog with her.
1835 H. C. TODD Notes Canada & U.S.A. 46 In Virginia originated Go the whole hog, a political phrase marking the democrat from a federalist.
1837-40 HALIBURTON Clockm. (1862) 21 We never fairly knew what goin the whole hog was till then.
1839 Times 11 Apr., If so, let him ‘go the whole hog’ in candour.
1840 Boston Advert. 30 June 3/3 Mr. Yorke would have been just the man for the Boston ‘whole-hoggites’.
1852 Househ. Words 31 July 474/1 When a Virginian butcher kills a pig, he is said to ask his customers whether they will ‘go the whole hog’, as, in such case, he sells at a lower price than if they pick out the prime joints only.
1853 Tait’s Mag. XX. 414 Stage morality, moreover, finds in Mr. Burke a whole-hogg defender.
1857 HUGHES Tom Brown II. ii, Yes, he’s a whole~hog man is Tom.
1876 KINGSTON Hist. Brit. Navy 533 Russia has gone the whole hog, and has now produced two circular monitors.
1914 D. H. LAWRENCE Prussian Officer 207 Do you mean to say you used to go—the whole hogger?

6 January 1828, Gazette of Maine (ME), pg. 2:
Unwearied pains will be taken by ONE of the members of the Legislature, who will endeavor to palm himself off at the commencement of the term as an administration man when, in truth, he is a “whole hog” Jackson man, to make the republican Members believe that Gen BALKAM, who has very appropriately been styled the ”weather cock,” is a true republican and a genuine administration man, but it is hoped that none of them will suffer themselves to be deceived.

9 January 1828, Middlesex (CT) Gazette, pg. 3:
Mr. Barbour, you know, was formerly the Speaker, but not being willing “to go the whole hog,” as the Jacksonites have it, they would not permit him again to be elevated to that high station.

19 Janaury 1828, Berks and Schuylkill Journal (PA), pg. 3:
THE WHOLE HOG.
Mr. Getz:
it may gratify some of your readers to know the origin of the above phrase which seems to be a particular favourite with the political orators and essayists of the day. Amusing and ingenious stories are related of occasions which gave rise to its adoption, tending, as the case might be, to prove it of Virginian, Kentuckian and of Yankee origin. All agree that it must have taken its rise in some country famous for its bacon. The readers of Poetry perhaps may have discovered its original in the following lines of Cowper.
CURIOSITAS

The Love of the World Reproved, or Hypocrisy Detected.
THUS says the prophet of the Turk—
Good musselman, abstain from pork.
There is a part of ev’ry swine
No friend or follower of mine
May taste, whate’er his inclination
On pain of excommunication
Such Mahomet’s mysterious charge,
And thus he left the point at large.
Had he the sinful part express’d,
They might with safety eat the rest;
But for one piece they thought it hard
From the whole hog to be debarr’d;
And set their wit at work to find
What joint the prophet had in mind.
Much controversy straight arose,
These choose the back, the belly those;
By some ‘tis confidently said
He meant not to forbid the head;
While others at that doctrine rail,
And piously prefer the tail.
Thus conscience freed from ev’ry clog,
Mahometans eat up the hog
You laugh—‘tis well—The tale applied
May make you laugh on t’other side.
Renounce the world—the preacher cries;
We do—a multitude replies.
While one as innocent regards
A snug and friendly game at cards;
And one, whatever you may say,
Can see no evil in a play;
Some love a concert or a race;
And others shooting, and the chase
Revil’d and lov’d, renounc’d and follow’d,
Thus, bit by bit, the world is swallow’d;
Each thinks his neighbour makes too free
Yet likes a slice as well as he;
With sophistry their sauce they sweeten,
Till quite from tail to snout ‘tis eaten.

12 March 1828, Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, PA), pg. 2, col. 1:
Mr. Pierce, an administration man from Rhode Island, in a speech upon the resolution respecting a retrenchment of expenditures, admits the fact that the officers of the House of Representatives have been employed in folding up copies of the administration convention address in Virginia, in the paper belonging to the public, but attempts to justify it upon the ground that, they “are paid by the day—and, if not employed in folding these addresses, they would have been doing nothing.” [See National Intelligencer.] This is what may be called going the whole hog.

16 April 1828, Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, PA), pg. 2:
He unmasked the pseudo champions of the “American System” who are for “going the whole hog” into their own pockets.

6 June 1828, Delaware Patriot and American Watchman (Wilmington, DE), pg. 3, col. 2:
We do not wish to do any thing that shall deprive them of their remuneration to which they are entitled, but if the contract was ours, and before we would be muzzled by it, we would say Mr. Clay may “go the whole hog” hominy and all, as soon as he chooses.

6 May 1829, Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg, PA), pg. 7, col. 4:
Going the Whole—The Columbia Republican states that the Common Council of Hudson, N. York, have made a thorough change in the persons holding offices under their appointment.—Every one who supported Adams at the last election has been removed, and Jackson men appointed. This is going the whole hog from snout to tail.

2 December 1828, Rhode-Island American, pg. 2:
THE WHOLE HOG.—“Going the whole hog” has long been a cant phrase with the Jackson party.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Saturday, April 04, 2009 • Permalink