From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Hogshead \Hogs"head\, n. [D. okshoofd; akin to Sw. oxhufvud,
   Dan. oxehoved, G. oxhoft; apparently meaning orig., ox head,
   but it is not known why this name was given. Cf. Ox,
   1. An English measure of capacity, containing 63 wine
      gallons, or about 521/2 imperial gallons; a half pipe.
      [1913 Webster]

   Note: The London hogshead of beer was 54 beer gallons, the
         London hogshead of ale was 48 ale gallons. Elsewhere in
         England the ale and beer hogsheads held 51 gallons.
         These measures are no longer in use, except for cider.
         [1913 Webster]

   2. A large cask or barrel, of indefinite contents; esp. one
      containing from 100 to 140 gallons. [U. S.]
      [1913 Webster]
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