1

piggyback

play
adverb pig·gy·back \ˈpi-gē-ˌbak\
variants: or less commonly

play \ˈpi-gē-, ˈpi-kə-\

Definition of piggyback

  1. 1 :  up on the back and shoulders

  2. 2 :  on or as if on the back of another; especially :  on a railroad flatcar

piggyback was our Word of the Day on 03/12/2013. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Have you ever wondered where the porcine part of piggyback comes from? Well, it's not from the pigs themselves. The adverb piggyback likely began as "a pick pack." Another early form of the word is pickback, evidence of which can be found in the still-extant variant pickaback. The adverb piggyback dates to the mid-16th century, and the noun-referring to an act of carrying piggyback-was in use by the end of that same century. The adjective piggyback, as in "piggyback ride," didn't enter the language until the 18th century, and the now-common verb piggyback didn't piggyback on the others until the late 19th century.

Origin and Etymology of piggyback

alteration of earlier a pick pack, of unknown origin


2

piggyback

noun pig·gy·back
variants: or less commonly

Definition of piggyback

  1. 1 :  the act of carrying piggyback

  2. 2 :  the movement of loaded truck trailers on railroad flatcars

Recent Examples of piggyback from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'piggyback'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of piggyback

circa 1592


3

piggyback

adjective pig·gy·back
variants: or less commonly

Definition of piggyback

  1. 1 :  marked by being up on the shoulders and back a child needs hugging, tussling, and piggyback rides — Benjamin Spock

  2. 2 :  carried or transported piggyback: such asa :  of or relating to the hauling of truck trailers on railroad flatcarsb :  being or relating to something carried into space as an extra load by a vehicle (such as a spacecraft)

First Known Use of piggyback

1784


4

piggyback

verb pig·gy·back
variants: or less commonly

Definition of piggyback

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to carry up on the shoulders and back

  3. 2 :  to haul (something, such as a truck trailer) by railroad car

  4. 3 :  to set up or cause to function in conjunction with something larger, more important, or already in existence or operation

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to function or be carried on or as if on the back of another

Recent Examples of piggyback from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'piggyback'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of piggyback

1895



PIGGYBACK Defined for English Language Learners

piggyback

noun

Definition of piggyback for English Language Learners

  • : the act of carrying someone on your back or shoulders

piggyback

verb

Definition of piggyback for English Language Learners

  • : to be carried by or connected to something else or to cause (something) to be carried by or connected to something else


PIGGYBACK Defined for Kids

piggyback

play
adverb or adjective pig·gy·back \ˈpi-gē-ˌbak\

Definition of piggyback for Students

  1. :  on the back or shoulders The child wanted a piggyback ride.



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