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Balls to the Wall
Gift of Gab

Go Whole Hog
High on the Hog

Balls to the Wall-  Contrary to popular belief, the origin of this term has nothing to do with testicles!  This saying came out during the early days of fighter planes, where ball-shaped knobs on top of throttles were commonly used.  To push the throttle all the way towards the wall of the cockpit was to apply full throttle.  Putting the "balls to the wall" is to do the extreme; to go the ultimate!  Still, it's a colorful saying that wouldn't be well-received at formal dinner parties or figure-skating tournaments.  It might ring true in professional wrestling matches, though.

Japanese Zero

Gift of Gab-  Whenever we hear this expression it refers to someone who seems to talk endlessly.  Where does it come from?  Our word "gab" is similar to many words in other languages.  "Gab" is an old Scottish word for "mouth".  The word "gabba" in old Norse meant to mock (tease).  The French word "gabor" means to boast (brag) and the Anglo-Saxon word "gabran" refers to rambling.  One thing that all these words have in common is that they have something to do with talking!  Next time someone tells you that you have the gift of gab, you can proudly say you're multi-lingual!

Go Whole Hog-  This expression started in 18th Century England.  At this time, the English shilling was referred to as a "hog".  When someone was in a spending mood, and willing to spend an entire shilling on something as frivolous as entertaining a friend in a pub, this person was willing to "go whole hog".

English shilling hog
This is an English shilling from 1745, referred to at the time as a "hog".

High on the Hog-  This saying originated among enlisted American Army men who received shoulder and leg pork cuts while officers received the top loin cuts.  When we say someone is living "High on the hog" we mean to say that that person has the best of everything...and we usually don't think anything about him/her having a lot of good pork.