AskDefine | Define razorback

Dictionary Definition

razorback adj : having a sharp narrow back; "a razor-backed horse"; "razorback hogs" [syn: razor-backed]


1 a mongrel hog with a thin body and long legs and a ridged back; a wild or semi-wild descendant of improved breeds; found chiefly in the southeastern United States [syn: razorback hog, razorbacked hog]
2 any of several baleen whales of the family Balaenopteridae having longitudinal grooves on the throat and a small pointed dorsal fin [syn: rorqual]

User Contributed Dictionary



razorback (Plural: razorbacks)
  1. A term used in the southeastern US for a thin feral pig. The term is borderline slang but is used as the nickname for the University of Arkansas athletic teams.

Extensive Definition

Razorbacks, also referred to as an Old World swine, Eurasian wild boar, or Russian wild boar, are feral pigs that were brought to North America by the explorer Hernando de Soto during the mid-1550s. The animal evolved due to a system of farming known as free roam or free range farming, where domesticated animals were allowed to roam freely and are identified by a brand, or burned marking, on their hides. Though pigs were successfully farmed this way, many were lost. These lost pigs eventually made up the first razorback populations. This type of farming eventually declined because of space limitations and because of the desire to obtain hard fat, which can only be harvested from pigs on strict diets.
Razorbacks are also viewed as a chief game species in many parts of the United States. They are found in 19 states, mainly in the southeastern United States but extending up to the northeast and in part of the Midwest. Texas has the largest population of razorbacks (referred to locally not as razorbacks, but simply as 'feral hogs' or, colloquially, as 'Piney Woods rooters') which are sometimes confused with a similar (but unrelated) species in the southwest, the javelina. Razorbacks are hunted for sport and trophy. Sometimes the hunter can become famous as did the killer of Hogzilla. Hunting of razorbacks is encouraged in many areas due to their destructive nature. They tend to shy away from human contact but can become very dangerous if they are cornered, wounded, or with young, and can injure and even kill humans and other animals.
In one of the worst virgin soil epidemics in history, more than half of the Native Americans living in what is now the Southeastern United States died of smallpox and related causes following the de Soto expedition. The epidemic, which effectively caused the collapse of the Mississippian civilization, is often attributed not to de Soto, but to his escaped pigs, the ancestors of today's razorbacks.
The name razorback might have its origin from the agent nordic mythological creature Glo-so (glowing hog). Witch was a burning boar with razorsharp borsts on its back.

Popular culture

  • Razorbacks are second most noteably known as the mascot for the Headquarters Support Company of the Special Troops Battalion, 4ID an Army Unit. The Soldiers of this unit are strong, vicious and have killer instincts.
  • In the famous French comic Asterix and Obelix, they appear frequently as the preferred food of the Gauls.
  • In the Marvel Comics universe, Razorback is a minor superhero who wears a boar costume.
  • "Razorback" is the title of a song by the Power-Noise/Electro-Noise band Bio-Tek, from the album "Punishment for Decadence".
  • A red and yellow painted racing boat from the game "Hydro Thunder" has the name of "Razorback". It's one of the fastest in the game.
  • A troop transporter for Space Marines from the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop miniature wargame is also called Razorback.
  • The Republic P-47 fighter of World War II was nicknamed "Razorback" due to the airplane fuselage's resembalance to the animal's body shape.
  • Razorback MTB Park in Reddick, FL is a mountain bike trail.
  • Razorback Records, is a Death Metal / Grindcore label based in the United states, releasing notable albums from such bands as Blood Freak, Frightmare, Fondlecorpse, General Surgery (split album), Haemorrhage (split album), Birdflesh, Machetazo and others.
  • "The Razorbacks" is the name of a Canadian rockabilly band from the late 1980s and early 1990s.
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