"Crazy as a peach orchard boar” (also “madder than a peach orchard boar") is a Southern expression used in Texas and elsewhere. Its exact origin and meaning remains unknown, but a peach orchard boar (or peach orchard pig) allegedly shows wild and unrestrained behavior. The term “peach orchard boar” also means sexual excess.
Texas writer Molly Ivins (1944-2007) used the term in her work.
NEH Proposal, June 2005
Project Title: Do You Speak American?
Institution: Capital of Texas Public Telecommunications Council
Project Director: Susan Mills
Grant Program: Humanities Projects in Media
Grant Type: Digital Production, GN-30099-02
Next we go to the floor of the Texas legislature in Austin. Here we join political commentator Molly Ivins, who has called the legislature “the finest free entertainment in Texas.” She is sitting in the gallery watching the day’s proceedings. She calls our attention to what she calls the “highly flavored” language, the argot of Texas political debate. As we listen, a person is described as “crazy as a peach orchard boar.” When a normally indolent colleague is suddenly invigorated, a fellow member asks “who put Tabasco sauce in his oatmeal?” A homely man is described this way: “He’s so ugly that when he was a little boy his mamma had to tie a pork chop around his neck before the dog would play with him.” Ivins’s final example is the classic explanation for why a legislator will never vote against a lobbyist who helped elect him: “You dance with them what brung you.”
Ivins comments on the speeches given by particular male representatives, who, she says, have intensified their Texas style—pronunciation and idiom—as a signal that they are true Texas men. Ivins provides us with an amusing blow by blow analysis of their linguistic strategies. We then follow a group of legislators to their favorite drinking spot. A barmaid asks the men what they are drinking and then chats with them in an exaggerated, charming country style that displays an equally adept linguistic strategy.
Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegam
Posted on Wed, Jan. 31, 2007
That was just Molly bein’ Molly
BY ANTHONY ZURCHER
Molly Ivins is gone, and her words will never grace these pages again — for this, we will mourn. But Molly wasn’t the type of woman who would want us to grieve. More likely, she’d say something like, “Hang in there, keep fightin’ for freedom, raise more hell, and don’t forget to laugh, too.”
If there was one thing Molly wanted us to understand, it’s that the world of politics is absurd. We can’t cry, so we might as well laugh. And in case we ever forgot, Molly would remind us several times a week in her own unique style.
Shortly after becoming editor of her syndicated column, I learned that one of my most important jobs was to tell her newspaper clients that, yes, Molly meant to write it that way.
We called her linguistic peculiarities “Molly-isms.” Administration officials were “Bushies”; government was in fact spelled “guvment”; business was “bidness.” And if someone was “madder than a peach orchard boar,” well, he was quite mad indeed.
(Dictionary of American Regional English)
also peach-orchard pig, ~ borer: Used in var. proverbial comparisons, usu. referring to wild or unrestrained behavior; see quots. [In ref to the practice of pasturing hogs in peach orchards to eat the windfalls] scattered, but esp Sth, S Midl
[1885 Century Illustr. Mag. 29-681 cTN, An’ don’t stan’ ther’ a-gawpin’ like a runt pig in er peach orchard.]
[1953 Randolph-Wilson Down in Holler 108 Ozarks, A candidate for Congress once said that his opponent, a handsome fellow and popular with the ladies, was “wild as a boar in a peach orchard."]
1967 DARE Tape WA30, [FW:] Can you tell me how hungry you were before you started eating? [Inf:] You mean tonight? Hungrier than a peach orchard boar.
1986 DARE File, Crazier than a peach orchard boar.
1992 Houston Chron. (TX) 5 Apr sec G1, Crazy:...Nuttier than a peach orchard pig.
American Thesaurus of Slang
by Lester V. Berrey and Melvin van den Bark
New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company
(first edition 1942)
Pg. 167 ("crazy"):
...full of hops, full of nuts, full of nuts as a fruit cake, -a peach-orchard boar…
This Is Chicago: An Anthology
by Albert Halper
New York: Henry Holt and Company
“You think I’m full of nuts as a peach-orchard boar, don’t you? Crazy as hell, ain’t I?”
You All Spoken Here
by Roy Wilder, Jr.
New York: Viking Penguin
Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press
Wild as a peach-orchard boar: A randy buck; sexually passionate and unrestrained.
Lost is the derivation of the term, known at least from Virginia to the Ozarks. Perhaps it comes for a boar’s belly ache after loading up on green peaches—seed and all. Or from the natural mating manner of a boar roaming in a peach orchard. Whatever…
General Dan E. Sickles of the Union Army became known in the Civil War as “the hero of the peach orchard.” He was known, too, as a randy buck. Any connection with “wild as a peach orchard boar” may be coincidental. Sickles won his hero’s laurels at Gettysburg when, holding the III Corps salient in Sherfy’s peach orchard, his troops stood up to Longstreet’s heavy artillery fire and infantry assaults before being driven out of the orchard and the adjacent wheat field on the second day of battle. Sickles won laurels of another sort of service in assorted boudoirs; age did not limit his interest in women, for when he attended a Gettysburg reunion in 1913, he was accompanied by a young lady identified as an “attendant.”
Peach-orchard crazy: Passionate; lascivious.
Once Upon a Time in Texas:
A Liberal in the Lone Star State
by David Richards
Austin, TX: University of Texas Press
These firms were merrily billing away for endless depositions about the state of mind of Howard Hughes, who everyone knew was as crazy as a peach orchard boar.
5 November 1958, Reno (NV) Evening Gazette, pg. 26, col. 1:
He has more guts than a peach orchard boar.
16 January 1969, Las Cruces (NM) Sun-News, pg. 13, col. 2:
One would, no doubt, figure Haskins to heat up early for a team with a 14-0 record but when a long-time rivalry is involved, against a school only 45 miles down the freeway, things possibly could become wilder than a peach orchard boar.
17 November 1976, Northwest Arkansas Times (Fayetteville, Ark.), pg. 24, col. 1:
“Wild as a peach orchard boar” is an old Southern expression for a man intent on having his way with the ladies. It is definitely not the type of subject to bring up in polite company, according to a new book called “You All Spoken Here.” The book was written by Roy Wilder, a sometime newspaperman and ad writer from Raleigh, N.C.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (3) Comments • Friday, February 02, 2007 • Permalink
This expression was a favorite of my father’s. I must suppose it was used by his dad, who hailed from North Carolina. I never heard any of the variants mentioned here; from Dad, it was only, always, “NUTTY as a peach orchard boar.” I think the explanation that boars in a peach orchard will eat fallen fruit, seeds and all, is the most likely derivation. Obviously, if the poor things had upset stomachs and/or constipation, they might be a little out of sorts. Hell, I am like that as it is, and I don’t eat peach seeds.
In this fast paced world men tend to be more of ‘Peach Orchard Boar’ in Urban cities which is much of stress related enviromental syndrome !
How was Molly Ivins life admirable/remarkable? I am doing a report, and this question for my report confuses me. She was a news politics reporter, I don’t see how that is admirable. But if you think of something let me know. Thanks!