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Painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau 1895
Women sitting on shoulders in a crowd

Piggyback (v. Niederdt. Hucken wear back back) generally refers to the wearing of a person on the back of another. This is used to transport or increase the position of the person being carried.

When piggybacking, the person being carried hangs with his chest on the carrier's back; for better support, he usually wraps his arms around the shoulders and his legs around the waist of the wearer.


The word "piggyback" has been used since the 18th century. Its etymological origin is not fully understood. While the first part of the word is supposed to go back to the late Middle High German Hucke , which denotes the hawker's bundle , and the verb hucken (“carry as load”) derived from it , it is disputed whether the second part of the word goes back to the Low German back (“back”) or the Middle High German pack (also "bundle") is declining.

Figurative meanings

Truck transport piggyback
Piggyback freight wagons
Microcontroller (below) as piggyback version: a chip (above) can be plugged onto the base (turquoise)
Space Shuttle piggyback on a Boeing 747-100

The term piggyback is also used figuratively whenever an object is carried on the "back" or the back of another. Various technical terms have emerged from this:

The English term piggy-back for "piggyback" was adopted in German in technical languages ​​in various areas:

  • Microcontrollers are called piggyback versions when the program memory is piggybacked onto the chip. This is mainly used during a development phase or for small series, for which mask programming is not economical.
  • Piggy Back stands for the opportunity to fly a payload on a satellite or a launcher ( secondary payload ). Cubesat is a standard for this .
  • The two-part stacked version of the guitar amplifier model Fender Bassman is also known as piggyback .
  • In the case of bidirectional data transfers, acknowledgments that are attached directly to user data packets are called piggyback acknowledgments.

See also

Web links

Commons : Piggyback  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. piggyback. In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . tape 10 : H, I, J - (IV, 2nd division). S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1877, Sp. 1860 ( woerterbuchnetz.de ).
  2. ^ Friedrich Kluge , Elmar Seebold: piggyback . In: Etymological dictionary of the German language . 24th edition. 2002, ISBN 3-11-017472-3 , pp. 424 .
  3. ^ Friedrich Bollow, Matthias Homann, Klaus-Peter Köhn: C and C ++ for Embedded Systems . 2nd Edition. mitp / bhv, 2006, ISBN 3-8266-1618-9 , Chapter 1: Program development for microcontrollers , p. 15 ( mitp.de [PDF; 291 kB ; accessed on January 8, 2013]).
  4. Space programs (PDF; 1.3 MB) Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.
  5. Erich Stein: Piggyback receipts . In: Taschenbuch Computer Networks and Internet . 3. Edition. 2008, ISBN 978-3-446-40976-7 .