AskDefine | Define boar

Dictionary Definition



1 Old World wild swine having a narrow body and prominent tusks from which most domestic swine come; introduced in United States [syn: wild boar, Sus scrofa]
2 an uncastrated male hog

User Contributed Dictionary



Old English bār


  • , /bɔːr/, /bO:r/
  • Rhymes with: -ɔː(r)



  1. A wild boar (Sus scrofa''), the wild ancestor of the domesticated pig.
  2. A male pig.


wild boar
  • Arabic: (khanzîr barî)
  • Catalan: senglar
  • Chinese Characters: (shǐ)
  • Chinese traditional/simplified: 野猪, 野猪 (yě zhū)
  • Croatian: vepar
  • Czech: divočák
  • Danish: vildsvin
  • Dutch: everzwijn
  • Estonian: metssiga
  • Finnish: villisika
  • French: sanglier
  • German: Wildschwein
  • Greek: κάπρος, αγριογούρουνο
  • Hungarian: vaddisznó
  • Icelandic: villisvín, villigöltur
  • Italian: cinghiale
  • Japanese: 野猪 (yacho), (いのしし, inoshishi)
  • Korean: 멧돼지 (metdwaeji)
  • Norwegian: villsvin
  • Persian: (gerâz)
  • Polish: dzik
  • Portuguese: javali
  • Russian: кабан
  • Swedish: vildsvin
  • Telugu: పంది (paMdi)
  • Turkish: yaban domuzu
male pig


See also

West Frisian



Extensive Definition

The wild boar (Sus scrofa) is an omnivorous, gregarious mammal of the biological family Suidae. It is native across much of Central Europe, the Mediterranean Region (including North Africa's Atlas Mountains) and much of Asia as far south as Indonesia, and has been widely introduced elsewhere.
Although common in France, the wild boar became extinct in Great Britain and Ireland by the 17th century, but wild breeding populations have recently returned in some areas, particularly the Weald, following escapes from boar farms.

Physical characteristics

The body of the wild boar is compact, the head is large, the legs relatively short. The fur consists of stiff bristles and usually finer fur. The colour usually varies from dark grey to black or brown, but there are great regional differences in colour, even whitish animals are known from central Asia. During winter the fur is much denser. The size also varies highly within the range. Full grown female wild boars (5 years or older) have a body length of about 135 cm and a weight of 55-70 kg in central Europe, while adult males reach 140-150 cm and weigh between 80 and 90 kg there. In some areas, like Astrachan and the Caucasus wild boars grow much larger, with males reaching a body length of 200 cm and a weight of 200 kg. Even in parts of western France, Boar have been caught weighing around 100 kg. In the 1930s animals weighing 260 kg were shot in the Volga delta and at the Syr Daria. In the Russian Far East and the Carpathians, males of more than 300 kg have reported, but due to intensive hunting, the size of wild boars has declined. Currently, animals weighing 200 kg are counted as very large. The wild boar was originally found in North Africa and much of Eurasia from the British Isles to Japan and the Sunda Islands. In the north it reached southern Scandinavia and southern Siberia. Within this range it was absent in extremely dry deserts and alpine zones.
A few centuries ago it was found in North Africa along the Nile valley up to Khartum and north of the Sahara. The reconstructed northern boundary of the range in Asia ran from Lake Ladoga (at 60°N) through the area of Novgorod and Moskow into the southern Ural, where it reached 52°N. From there the boundary passed Ishim and farther east the Irtysh at 56°N. In the eastern Baraba steppe (near Novosibirsk) the boundary turned steep south, encircled the Altai Mountains, went again eastward including the Tannu-Ola Mountains and Lake Baikal. From here the boundary went slightly north of the Amur River eastward to its lower reaches at the China Sea. At Sachalin there are only fossil reports of wild boar. The southern boundaries in Europe and Asia were almost everywhere identical to the sea shores of these continents. In dry deserts and high mountain ranges the wild boar is naturally absent. So it is absent in the dry regions of Mongolia from 44-46°N southward, in China westward of Sichuan and in India north of the Himalaya. In high altitudes of Pamir and Tien Shan they are also absent, however at Tarim basin and on the lower slopes of the Tien Shan they do occur.

Present range

In the last centuries the range of wild boar changed dramatically because of human and perhaps also climatic influence. They probably became extinct in Great Britain in the 13th century: certainly none remained in southern England by 1610, when King James I reintroduced them to Windsor Great Park. This attempt failed due to poaching, and later attempts met the same fate. By 1700 there were no wild boar remaining in Britain.
In Denmark the last Boar was shot at the beginning of the 19th century, and in 1900 they were absent in Tunisia and in Sudan and large areas of Germany, Austria and Italy. In Russia they were extinct in wide areas in the 1930s and the northern boundary has shifted far to the south, especially in the parts to the west of the Altai.
By contrast, a strong and growing population of Boar has remained in France, where they are hunted for food and sport, especially in the rural Central and Southern parts of that country.
By 1950 the wild boar had once again reached the original northern boundary in many parts of its Asiatic range. By 1960 they reached even Saint Petersburg and Moscow, and by 1975 they were to be found in Archangelsk and Astrakhan. In the 1970s they occurred again in Denmark and Sweden, where captured animals managed to escape and survive in the wild. In the 1990s they migrated into Tuscany in Italy.

Status in Britain

Between then and the 1980s, when wild boar farming began, only a handful of captive wild boar, imported from the continent, were present in Britain. Because wild boar are included in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, certain legal requirements have to be met prior to setting up a farm. A licence to keep boar is required from the local council who will appoint a specialist to inspect the premises and report back to the council. Requirements include secure accommodation and fencing, correct drainage, temperature, lighting, hygiene, ventilation and insurance. Occasional escapes of wild boar have occurred since the 1970s. Early escapes occurred from Wildlife Parks but since the early 1990s more escapes have been from farms, the number of which has increased as the demand for wild boar meat has grown. By the 1990s a breeding population was rumoured to have established in areas of Kent and East Sussex. In 1998, a MAFF (now DEFRA) study on wild boar living wild in Britain confirmed the presence of two populations of wild boar living in Britain, one in Kent and East Sussex and another in Dorset. New Zealand wild pigs are also frequently known as "tuskers", due to their appearance.
The term boar is used to denote an adult male of certain species, including, confusingly, domestic pigs. In the case of wild pigs only, it is correct to say "female boar" or "infant wild boar", since boar or wild boar refers to the animal itself.
One characteristic by which domestic breed and wild animals are differentiated is coats. Wild animals almost always have thick, short bristly coats ranging in colour from brown through grey to black. A prominent ridge of hair matching the spine is also common, giving rise to the name razorback in the southern United States, where they are common and tend to roam in groups, rarely settling in one place permanently. The tail is usually short and straight. Wild animals tend also to have longer legs than domestic breeds and a longer and narrower head and snout. European adult males can be up to 200 kg (sometimes up to 300 kg in certain areas, particularly Eastern Europe) and have both upper and lower tusks; females do not have tusks and are around a third smaller on average.
A very large swine dubbed Hogzilla was shot in Georgia, USA in June 2004. Initially thought to be a hoax, the story became something of an internet sensation. National Geographic Explorer investigated the story, sending scientists into the field. After exhuming the animal and performing DNA testing it was determined that Hogzilla was a hybrid of wild boar and domestic swine.


Wild boars live in groups called sounders. Sounders typically contain around 20 animals, but groups of over 50 have been seen. In a typical sounder there are two or three sows and their offspring; adult males are not part of the sounder outside of a breeding cycle, two to three per year, and are usually found alone. Birth, called farrowing, usually occurs in a secluded area away from the sounder; a litter will typically contain 8-12 piglets.
If surprised or cornered, a boar (and particularly a sow with her piglets) can and will defend itself and its young vigorously. The male lowers its head, charges, and then slashes upward with its tusks. The female, which is tuskless, charges with its head up, mouth wide, and bites. Such attacks are rarely fatal to humans, but severe trauma and blood loss can easily result.
Adult wild boar have few natural predators, though there have been cases of predation from tigers, wolves and striped hyenas.


Sus scrofa has wild subspecies, each occupying distinct geographical areas:
The domestic pig is usually regarded as a further subspecies, Sus scrofa domestica – but sometimes as a separate species, Sus domestica. Different subspecies can usually be distinguished by the relative lengths and shapes of their lacrimal bones. S. scrofa cristatus and S. scrofa vittatus have shorter lacrimal bones than European subspecies. Spanish and French boar specimens have 36 chromosomes, as opposed to wild boar in the rest of Europe which possess 38, the same number as domestic pigs. Boars with 36 chromosomes have successfully mated with animals possessing 38, resulting in fertile offspring with 37 chromosomes.

Mythology and religion

In Greek mythology two boars are particularly well known. The Erymanthian Boar was hunted by Hercules as one of his Twelve Labours, and the Calydonian Boar was hunted in the Calydonian Hunt by dozens of other mythological heroes, including some of the Argonauts and the huntress Atalanta.
In Celtic mythology the boar was sacred to the goddess Arduinna, and boar hunting features in several stories of Celtic and Irish mythology. One such story is that of how Fionn mac Cumhaill ("Finn McCool") lured his rival Diarmuid Ua Duibhne to his death - gored by a wild boar.
Aries, the Greek God of War, had the ability to transform himself into a wild boar, and even gorged his son to death in this form to prevent the young man from growing too attractive and stealing his wife, similar to Oedipus marrying his own mother.
The Norse gods Freyr and Freyja both had boars. Freyr’s boar was named Gullinbursti ("Golden Mane"), who was manufactured by the Sons of Ivaldi as a gift to Freyr. The bristles in Gullinbursti’s mane glowed in the dark to illuminate the way for his owner. Freya rode the boar Hildesvini (Battle Swine) when she was not using her cat-drawn chariot. According to the poem Hyndluljóð, Freyja concealed the identity of her protégé Óttar by turning him into a boar. In Norse mythology, the boar was generally associated with fertility as well as a protective talisman in war, due to the animal's sometimes fierce nature.
In Persia (Iran) during Sassanid Empire, boars were respected as fierce and brave creatures and the adjective "Boraz (Goraz)" meaning Boar was sometimes added to a person's name to show his bravery and courage. The famous Sassanid spahbod, Shahrbaraz, who conquered Egypt and the Levant, had his name derived Shahr(city) + Baraz(boar like/brave) meaning "Boar of the City".
In Hindu mythology, the third avatar of the Lord Vishnu was Varaha, a boar.
In Chinese horoscope the boar (sometimes also translated as pig), is one of the twelve animals of the zodiac, based on the legends about its creation, either involving Buddha or the Jade Emperor.

Heraldry and other symbolic use

The Wild boar and a boar's head are common charges in heraldry. It represents what are often seen as the positive qualities of the boar, namely courage and fierceness in battle.

Commercial use

The hair of the boar was often used for the production of the toothbrush until the invention of synthetic materials in the 1930s. The hair for the bristles usually came from the neck area of the boar. While such brushes were popular because the bristles were soft, this was not the best material for oral hygiene as the hairs were slow to dry and usually retained bacteria. Boar hair is also used in the manufacture of the boar bristle hairbrush. Despite claims that Boar bristles have been used in the manufacture of premium dart boards for use with steel-tipped darts these boards are, in fact, made of other materials and fibers--- the finest ones from sisal rope.
In many countries boar are farmed for their meat and, in countries such as France, for example, boar may often be found for sale in Butchers shops or on offer in a restaurant. (Although the consumption of Wild boar meat has been linked to transmission of Hepatitis E in Japan).


boar in Amharic: እሪያ
boar in Arabic: خنزير بري
boar in Aragonese: Chabalín
boar in Franco-Provençal: Sangllar
boar in Bengali: বন্য বরাহ
boar in Min Nan: Soaⁿ-ti
boar in Bosnian: Divlja svinja
boar in Catalan: Senglar
boar in Czech: Prase divoké
boar in Corsican: Cignali
boar in Welsh: Baedd Gwyllt
boar in Danish: Vildsvin
boar in German: Wildschwein
boar in Estonian: Metssiga
boar in Modern Greek (1453-): Αγριόχοιρος
boar in Spanish: Sus scrofa
boar in Esperanto: Apro
boar in Persian: گراز
boar in French: Sanglier
boar in Western Frisian: Wylde baarch
boar in Scottish Gaelic: Torc fiadhach
boar in Galician: Xabaril
boar in Croatian: Divlja svinja
boar in Korean: 멧돼지
boar in Ido: Apro
boar in Indonesian: Babi hutan
boar in Ossetian: Хъæддагхуы
boar in Italian: Sus scrofa
boar in Hebrew: חזיר בר
boar in Georgian: გარეული ღორი
boar in Latin: Sus scrofa
boar in Lithuanian: Šernas
boar in Hungarian: Vaddisznó
boar in Malay (macrolanguage): Babi Hutan
boar in Dutch: Wild zwijn
boar in Japanese: イノシシ
boar in Norwegian: Villsvin
boar in Norwegian Nynorsk: Villsvin
boar in Low German: Wildswien
boar in Polish: Dzik
boar in Portuguese: Javali
boar in Romanian: Mistreţ
boar in Russian: Дикий кабан
boar in Slovak: Diviak lesný
boar in Slovenian: Divja svinja
boar in Serbian: Divlja svinja
boar in Finnish: Villisika
boar in Swedish: Vildsvin
boar in Thai: หมูป่า
boar in Turkish: Bayağı yaban domuzu
boar in Ukrainian: Дикий кабан
boar in Vlaams: Wild zwyn
boar in Contenese: 野豬
boar in Chinese: 野豬

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

barrow, billy, billy goat, bubbly-jock, buck, bull, bullock, chanticleer, cock, cockerel, dog, drake, entire, entire horse, gander, gilt, gobbler, hart, he-goat, hog, peacock, pig, piggy, piglet, pigling, porker, ram, razorback, rooster, shoat, sow, stag, stallion, steer, stot, stud, studhorse, suckling pig, swine, tom, tom turkey, tomcat, top cow, top horse, tup, turkey gobbler, turkey-cock, tusker, wether, wild boar
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