# A Hog on Ice

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by breeze, Jul 23, 2009.

1. ### breezeRegistered Member

Messages:
62
Thank you all
And I need your help again:
Uncle vernon, uncle vernon, independent as a hog on ice
Hes a big shot down there at the slaughterhouse
Plays accordion for Mr. Weiss

Whats it? An idiom? And what does it mean?

3. ### Fraggle RockerStaff Member

Messages:
24,690
That's called a "figure of speech." It's also a "colloquialism" since it isn't a phrase that's used by a large portion of the population in standard conversation. If it were a little less colloquial it could just be called an "expression."

And a colloquial name for this kind of colorful expression is "an old saying."

It's usually said, "like a hog on ice," and the meaning is "independent but helpless." So to say "independent as a hog on ice" is redundant, the way you might say it to someone who would not immediately understand what it means. Of course in this case it's a poem so the extra word was inserted to maintain the meter.

I never heard of it, but someone just wrote a book titled A Hog on Ice so it's easy to Google. It's all about the meanings and origins of curious expressions like that. I might have to get it.

5. ### StrangerInAStrangeLandSubQuantum MechanicValued Senior Member

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15,389
-=-

Didn't someone just write a book titled A Hog On Ice over 30 years ago?

7. ### breezeRegistered Member

Messages:
62
:worship:
Thank you, Fraggle Rocker.
I found the book on Amazon.com but I think the delivery will be too expensive. Anyway maybe Ill find it in Moscow

8. ### OrleanderOH JOY!!!!Valued Senior Member

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25,817
OH, so its a live hog standing on a sheet of ice.
I was thinking of a butchered hog hanging in a freezer.

9. ### Fraggle RockerStaff Member

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24,690
Ah yes. I didn't look hard enough. The book that's for sale on Amazon.com is a reprint of A Hog on Ice by Charles Earle Funk, originally published in 1948. I probably won't order it now, because the quality of the scholarship in those old folk-etymology books is pretty uneven.

Sorry!

10. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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29,522
A hog is a large animal, bigger and traditionally more ornery than a pig.

A hog on ice cannot manage its own affairs - its hooves get no grip, its legs are not agile in the proper way, it is as likely to injure itself trying to walk as maintain its footing. And it got there on its own, somehow - sheer cussedness was likely involved.

Also, a hog on ice is very difficult to manage - you can't steer it, entice it, etc, it's unlikely to be in a cooperative mood, it's big and strong and likely to injure anyone trying to help as well as itself.

Independent, see, of everything - sense, persuasion, authority, its own guidance as well as anyone else's.