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10 comments on this post.
  1. Jerry:

    Politely disagree… anyone who has grown up around young pigs should know where the term “piggyback” comes from. Young pigs will play this game for hours… jumping on the back of littermate with the fore feet and holding on as long as they can or until the “ridee” gets tired of the game and either sits down or rolls over.

    Pigs have been doing it for centuries.


  2. Luke:

    Interesting point Jerry, but then why not call it bunnybacking as rabbits do the same thing?

    Instead, rabbits got the reputation of constantly mating when in actual fact they were merely playing a classic old childrens game.

  3. Lukewarm:


    You might have as well asked “why not call it human being backing as human beings do the same thing while carrying something on their backs?”

  4. Nate:

    Actually, as I understand it, it originates from hog hunting. The hunter ties the dead hogs legs together around his waist and holding the pigs front hooves, Piggy Backs the hog to his vehicle which may be several kilometers away.

  5. Edd:

    I would go with the original reason set down by the author of this definition. I am reading J. Meade Falkner’s ‘Moonfleet’ Written in 1898. In chapter 10 the main character is trying to escape with a broken foot; “. . . and then, while he knelt down upon the path, I climbed up from behind upon him, putting my arms round his neck; so he bore me “pickaback.” I shut my eyes firm again, and thus we moved along another spell . . .” I’m guessing piggy back simply evolved from ‘pickaback’ as you can imagine saying the word quickly and a three year old will think you said piggyback.

  6. Mike:

    From all my reading pickaback sounds the best, I’ll stick with that one.

  7. Karen:

    I looked up the origin of “piggy-back” after seeing wild piglets being carried on the back of an adult …

  8. Franz:

    I noticed the phrase “pick-a-back” in 19th century English used in a way which is conceptually identical to “piggyback,” so even before reading this (thanks by the way!) I suspected the “pig” part was a corruption of “pick.”
    None of which have anything to do with a pig pickin’, incidentally.

  9. sally:

    why are you answers so long?

  10. Tom:

    I found thread this looking for the word for the human bearer of other humans. Rich people were born this way across trails that could not support a palanquin. I suppose the practice goes back millennia and “pick a back” makes good sense, the strong guy to carry you up the mountain. I am still looking for the word and a word for the human saddle/chair.

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