Posted by Esc on August 31, 2001

In Reply to: Piggyback? posted by heldmyw on August 31, 2001

: We all know what it means, but where did it come from? I've never heard of swine being used as beasts of burden (lousy ground clearance, poor traction). Possible corruption of "pick-a-back"? Heard that too, but what does THAT mean?

PICKABACK -- "If we count only three generations to a century, our ancestors were carrying their children or others 'pick-a-back' twelve generations ago and calling the manner by that name, or one very like it. That is, in the original dialect the term may have been 'pick pack', which may have referred to a pack picked (pitched) on one's shoulders. In the past hundred and fifty years the term has often been corrupted to 'piggy-back' or the like, but great honored men have, on occasion, been carried 'pickaback'"; none has yet been carried 'piggy-back.'" From Horsefeathers & Other Curious Words by Charles Earle Funk and Charles Earle Funk Jr. (Harper & Row, New York, 1986, first published in 1958).