The word belongs to a set of words of uncertain or phonologically problematic etymology with a stem-final geminated g in Old English which is not due to West Germanic consonant gemination and therefore does not undergo assibilation. These words form both a morphological and a semantic group, as they are usually Old English weak masculine nouns and denote animals; compare frogn.1, hogn.1, pign.1, stagn.1, Old English sugga (see haysuggen.), Old English wicga (see earwign.), and perhaps tegn.1 It has been suggested that these words show expressive gemination, perhaps due to their being originally hypocoristic forms. (For discussion see R. M. Hogg ‘Two Geminate Consonants in Old English’ in J. Anderson Lang. Form & Ling. Variation (1982) 187–202.) For some of the words, substratal influence has also been considered (compare pign.1). Because attestation of these words in Old English is generally rare and confined to glossaries and onomastic evidence (as in the case of dogn.1), if they are attested at all, and also because there is often a better-attested synonym (in this case, houndn.1), it seems likely that the words were stylistically marked in Old English, i.e. considered non-literary or informal.
The word is attested twice as a place-name element (in the genitive plural) in a 14th-cent. copy of an Anglo-Saxon charter of 941 granting land at Buckland Newton, Dorset (doggene berwe is probably to be identified with Dogbury Hill, an ancient hill fort):
Bounds (Sawyer 474) in W. de G. Birch Cartularium Saxonicum
Endelang stremes on doggene ford þanen up on doggene berwe.
It is also perhaps attested (in the compound doggiþorn) in a late 12th-cent. copy of another charter purportedly recording a grant of land in Gloucestershire made a959, although it is unclear whether the form here represents this word or its derivative doggyadj.:
Bounds (Sawyer 664) in W. de G. Birch Cartularium Saxonicum
Of pislege on doggiþorn, of þam þorne to eadingham.
Compare also the following place names: Dogeflod, Surrey (1257; formerly Dogflood, now lost), Doggeworth, Devon (1281; now Dogsworthy), etc.
Also early as an element in bynames and surnames; compare: Syward Dogheafd (a1195), Richard Doggetall' (1201), Robertus Doggefel (1201), Robertus Doggisheued (1204), etc. Compare also Roger le Doge (1296).
The word occurs in a number of other European languages, considerably later than in English, and in many cases with the identifying attribute ‘English’. All of these instances probably show borrowing either directly or indirectly < English. Compare Dutch dog (16th cent.; in early modern Dutch also dogge), German Dogge (16th cent. as dock, docke; 17th cent. as dogg, dogge), Swedish dogg (17th cent.), Danish dogge, dog (a1700); French dogue (15th cent. in Middle French denoting a type of hunting dog; 14th cent. as an insult used to a Frenchman by an Englishman), Spanish dogo (1644), Portuguese dogue (1789; 1727 as †dogo), Italian dogo (19th cent.; a1712 in the diminutive doghetto). In all of these languages the word is applied more narrowly to particular varieties of dogs, usually mastiffs. This probably reflects the types of dogs which were imported from or associated with Britain, and probably has no bearing on the early meaning of the word in English.
The etymology of the English word is unknown. No likely cognates have been identified with a meaning at all close to that of the English word, and all attempted etymological explanations are extremely speculative. A word of this phonological shape is hard to explain as a regular development from a Germanic base, but nonetheless a number of attempts have been made. One attempt sees a connection with the Germanic base of dowv.1, assuming an original meaning such as ‘useful or faithful animal’, but this has not met with general acceptance. In this connection an Old English personal name Dycga is sometimes compared as a possible formal parallel from the same base, but it is quite possible that the personal name has no connection with dogn.1 Another attempted etymology takes the word ultimately from the Indo-European base probably meaning ‘run’ which is probably reflected by Sanskrit dhav- (see prothetelyn.), but this poses a number of formal difficulties. Another suggestion is that the word shows a development from an Indo-European base meaning ‘to be or become unconscious’, but this involves a very large number of unattested stages in the semantic development (assuming a development ‘bundle’ > ‘cuddly bundle’ > ‘pet’ > ‘dog’), and also involves a very uncertain original base form.
The β. forms (which are first attested in the second half of the 15th cent.) and the ζ. forms (which first appear only in the 19th cent., but are now characteristic of many regional varieties) apparently both show the same tendency to lengthen short ŏ before a velar, but at different times and consequently with different results (compare E. J. Dobson Eng. Pronunc. 1500–1700 (ed. 2, 1968) II. §53 note 2). The γ. forms, apparently reflecting a pronunciation with an affricate, are unexplained; it is possible that some of the Middle English spellings could reflect a similar pronunciation. The δ. forms show the development of a diphthong from an original velar glide (see A. J. Aitken & C. Macafee Older Scots Vowels (2002) §16.4); Ling. Atlas Scotl. (1986) III. 345 records pronunciations reflecting such forms from northern and north-eastern Scotland. The ε. forms (very common in Scots, especially in central Scotland) probably reflect sporadic raising of short ŏ to ŭ before g and (in most cases) subsequent unrounding to /ʌ/; the raising probably occurred in late Middle English (compare the 15th-cent. form frugge at frogn.1 and adj.), and is apparently evidenced in both dog and frog in the speech of Isaac Newton (who was born in south Lincolnshire) in the second half of the 17th cent. (see E. J. Dobson Eng. Pronunc. 1500–1700 (ed. 2, 1968) I. 249); J. Wright Eng. Dial. Gram. (1905) 407 records pronunciations with /ʊ/ (or a sound close to it) from Lancashire and Derbyshire, and with /ʌ/ from Lancashire, Derbyshire, and Devon; Ling. Atlas Eng. (1978) (Ph40) records pronunciations with /ʊ/ in two discrete pockets: one in the north-west midlands (including south Lancashire and Cheshire) and the other in the east midlands (centred on east Leicestershire, Rutland, and north Northamptonshire), and pronunciations with /ʌ/ in two further discrete pockets: one centred on Bedfordshire and the other on Devon.
a. A domesticated carnivorous mammal, Canis familiaris (or C. lupus familiaris), which typically has a long snout, an acute sense of smell, non-retractile claws, and a barking, howling, or whining voice, widely kept as a pet or for hunting, herding livestock, guarding, or other utilitarian purposes.Dogs are believed to have been domesticated from the wolf, C. lupus, in the Mesolithic period, and there are now numerous breeds that vary greatly in size, shape, and colour. Some now live in a wild or feral state: cf. sense 3b.Frequently in figurative contexts (in quot. OE with contemptuous reference to the torturers of St Vincent). Cf. also figurative use at sense 1b, extended uses at sense 5, and black dogn. 2.
b.figurative. In phrases with of-complement (now frequently after the dogs of war at Phrases 11), denoting a person or personified thing likened to a dog, esp. in being vicious, watchful, subservient, or ravening.
c. With distinguishing word denoting variety or use.bull, cattle, cur, field, guide, gun, parlour, sheep, toy dog, etc.: see the first element.
Þe dogge of helle..þefule cur dogge.
Tale of Beryn Prol. l. 633 (MED)
As he souȝt his logging, he appid oppon a whelp..That lay vndir a steyir, a grete Walssh dogg, That bare a-boute his nek a grete huge clogg, Be-cause þat he was spetouse.
1516 R. FabyanNew Chron. Eng. ccxxxi. f. Civ
A mastife or great curre Dogge.
1596 J. Dalrymple tr. J. Leslie Hist. Scotl.
The secund kynde of hunting dog is..a beist of a meruellous audacitie and suiftnes.
1633 T. JamesStrange Voy. 93
Bucke Dogs, of a very good race.
f.colloquial. With the, in plural. Greyhounds; (hence) greyhound racing, or a greyhound race meeting.to go to the dogs: to attend a greyhound race meeting (sometimes with punning allusion to Phrases 7b).
1927 Daily Mail 28 July 7/4
‘Going to the dogs’ has..lost..its old suggestion of a descent to dissipation and ruin. Since greyhound racing at the White City..came into existence the expression has suggested a good adventure.
1934 C. BrooksJrnl. 1 July
‘I don't believe,’ he said ‘that if a man or a woman goes to the dogs or the races they are necessarily going to ruin themselves.’
1948 G. FrostFlying Squad xv. 175
Doping, swindling, thuggery and even forgery have been practised at the dogs, but I believe the spiv aspect of greyhound racing is much exaggerated.
1959 Economist 13 June 1016/3
He..failed his Bar examinations because he preferred horse-racing, the ‘dogs’ and dancing.
2001 Palm Beach
9 Mar. tgif 24
I limited my betting to the dogs, while my husband concentrated on the Gulfstream horse races.
2. As a way of distinguishing sex: a male dog, as opposed to a female one; contrasted with bitchn.1 1. Also: a male of various other carnivorous mammals, as the fox, wolf, bear, ferret, or seal.Frequently attributive: see Compounds 2b.
c1450 in W. R. Dawson Leechbk.
Giff it [sc. nettle seed] to a dogge that goþe assaut, and he will forsake the biche, and she will go wode.
1577 B. Googe tr. C. Heresbach Foure Bks. Husbandryiii. f. 154v
The Dogge is thought better then the Bitch.
1686 R. BlomeGentlemans Recreationii. xxiii. 61/2
It is left to your own discretion to have any of the Dogs gelt, or the Bitches spaid.
1768 G. WashingtonWritings
Four puppys, that is 3 dogs and a bitch.
1772 in G. Cartwright Jrnl. Resid. Coast Labrador
[I] saw the fresh tracks of three white-bears; a dog, a bitch, and her cub.
1842 J. B. JukesExcurs. Newfoundland I. 314
If they can once kill the female [hooded seal],..the dog will not go far from the spot.
1882 Society 21 Oct. 19/2
If this is your fox, Jack, he's an unmistakable old dog.
1888 Ferrets & Ferreting
This court..permits of the dogs being kept separate from the jills.
1890 Sat. Rev. 1 Feb. 134/2
The man who knows and loves his hound only uses the word dog, as he does the word bitch, to denote sex.
1922 R. LeightonCompl. Bk. Dog xxii. 344
There are few troubles of the genital organs that need attention in either dog or bitch.
1597 W. ShakespeareRichard IIv. v. 70
And how comest thou hither, Where no man neuer comes, but that sad dog, That brings me foode.
a1618 Q. AnneLet. to Buckingham in H. Ellis Orig. Lett. Eng. Hist.
1st Ser. III. 101
My kind Dog..You doe verie well in lugging the Sowes eare [sc. James I], and I..would have yow doe so still upon condition that yow continue a watchfull dog to him.
1682 T. D'UrfeyRoyalistiv. i. 37
I would have him secur'd, that I might know where to find the young Dog.
e.School slang. A lookout; short for watch-dogn. Now rare.
1870 Chambers's Jrnl. Oct. 676/1
The boys withdrew..to read the forbidden prints, three taking their turn at a time, whilst three more ‘played dog’—that is, stood ready to bark a warning should a pion be seen approaching.
1959 I. Opie & P. OpieLore & Lang. Schoolchildren xvii. 373
In Kirkcaldy watch-dog [i.e., a boy keeping lookout] becomes either ‘watchie’ or ‘dog’.
h.slang (derogatory, usually considered offensive). Originally U.S. An unattractive woman or girl. Also (occasionally): an unattractive man.
1937 J. WeidmanI can get it for you Wholesale xxi. 203
I don't like to have a bunch of dogs floating around. While I'm at it, I might as well hire something with a well-turned ass and a decently uplifted tit.
1948 I. ShawYoung Lions xix. 345
She had fat legs and the seams of her stockings were crooked, as always. Why is it, Lewis thought automatically, why is it the dogs are the ones that join up?
7.Astronomy. Either of two constellations situated near Orion, Canis Major and Canis Minor; (also) the brightest star of each of these constellations, Sirius (= Dog Starn. 1) and Procyon respectively. Chiefly (now only) with distinguishing word. Great, Lesser, Little Dog: see the first element.
[1551 T. WilsonRule of Reason sig. Eij
I would deuide this word, Canis, into a dog, a fish of the sea, and a starre in the Elemente, thus might I say, Canis is either a dog that liueth vpon the yearth, or els a starre in the elemente.]
1556 R. RecordCastle of Knowl. 268
Northe almost from this Dogge is ther a constellation of 2 only starres named Canicula, the lesser Dogge.
1577 B. Googe tr. C. Heresbach Foure Bks. Husbandryiv. f. 180
The rysing of the starres, cheefely the Dogge shining out early in the morning.
1619 F. Beaumont & J. FletcherMaides Trag.iv. sig. G4
The burnt aire when the dog raines.
1675 E. Sherburne tr. M. Manilius Sphere 32
Next after whom with rapid Motion bent, (No Star than that 'gainst Earth more violent) The fierce Dog runs.
1718 N. Rowe tr. Lucan Pharsalia 428
'Till the hot Dog inflames the Summer Skies.
1839 D. OlmstedCompend. Astron.iii. i. 245
The Whale, Orion, the Greater and Lesser Dog, Hydra, and the Crow.
1923 Times 1 Nov. 20/3
Procyon, the lesser Dog, called so in distinction to Sirius, the greater Dog.
[Perhaps originally after Anglo-Norman and Middle French chenet (1290 in Old French; also denoting a small dog; < chien dog + -et-etsuffix1), probably so called on account of their appearance.]
A metal rest or support placed in or near a fireplace:
(a) Usually in plural. One of a pair of iron or brass devices placed one on each side of a fireplace to support burning wood; = andironn., fire dogn. at firen. and int. Compounds 2a.(b) A similar support for a dog grate or stove.(c) A rest for fire irons.
9. Any of various visible atmospheric or meteorological phenomena. Chiefly with distinguishing word.rain, sea, sun, water dog, etc.: see the first element.
1635 L. FoxeNorth-west Fox sig. Y4
This evening Sun dog, I hope may bring some change to our good.
1698 S. SewallDiary 15 Feb.
Remarkable Sun-dogs and a Rainbow were seen.
1710 God's Wonders in Great Deep
There appeared the lower-most end of a Rainbow, which the Mariners call a Sea-Dog, and look upon it as portentous.
1766 L. CarterDiary 23 July
We had three distinct sun dogs which is the usual sign for great rain.
1780 W. ShawGalic & Eng. Dict. I. at Fadadh-cruaidh
Part of a rainbow in blustering weather, which sailors call a dog.
1825 J. JamiesonEtymol. Dict. Sc. Lang. Suppl. (at cited word)
The dog has no variety of colours, but is of a dusky white.
1867 W. H. Smyth & E. BelcherSailor's Word-bk.Stubb, or Dogg, the lower part of a rainbow visible towards the horizon, and betokening squally weather..On the banks of Newfoundland they are considered precursors of clearer weather, and termed fog-dogs.
1869 Londsdale Gloss.Dog, a partial rainbow. ‘A dog at night is the farmer's delight.’
1892 W. PikeBarren Ground N. Canada 97
Often a sun-dog is the first thing to appear, and more or less of these attendants accompany the sun during his short stay above the horizon.
1910 H. de V. StacpooleBlue Lagoon III. xvi. 122
Torrential showers followed by bursts of sunshine, rainbows, and rain-dogs in the sky.
11. In Chinese and East Asian astrology: (the name of) the eleventh sign of the zodiac. In later use also: a person born under this sign.
1723 J. Darby tr. S. Ali Hist. Timur-Bec I. ii. i. 131
This great action happening in the year of the Dog, one of the twelve years of the Mogul calendar.
1843 Penny Cycl. XXVII. 799/2
The rat, the bull,..the dragon,..the dog, and the hog are names supposed to be given, both in China and Japan, to the zodiacal signs; but it is more probable that they are applied to the twelve years of a cycle which is frequently used in the East.
1889 J. J. ReinIndustries of Japanii. i. 323
The Chinese zodiac consists of the Rat, Bull, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Serpent, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Cock, Dog and Wild Boar.
1913 Young People Oct. 20/2
A Chinaman will sometimes even yet tell he was born in the dragon year or in the dog year.
1988 S. WhiteNew Astrol. 68Dogs are often found in jobs where helping others makes up a large part of their responsibility.
2002 E. Moran et al. Compl. Idiots Guide Feng Shui
ii. vii. 278
Famous Dogs: Sir Winston Churchill, Harry Houdini, Elvis Presley... Of all the signs in the Chinese zodiac, the dog is the most likeable.
2006 Time Out N.Y. 26 Jan. 105/1
Celebrate the year of the dog..with the Asian Pacific Alliance of New York.
1811 P. KellyUniversal Cambist I. 435
There are here [i.e. on the English Leeward Islands] small copper coins, called Stampes, Dogs, and Half Dogs.
1867 W. H. Smyth & E. BelcherSailor's Word-bk. 255Dogg. A small silver coin of the West Indies, six of which make a bitt.
1888 Star 18 Feb. 1/4
Fees..are paid in old Spanish dollars..and in ‘dogs’ or French coppers struck in the reign of Louis XVI. for Cayenne.
1970 B. Hobson & R. ObojskiIllustr. Encycl. World Coins
Before New Netherlands was lost to the English in 1664, one type of coin which came over in fair quantity was the ‘dog’, actually a lion dollar.
14.slang. Usually in plural. In early use: a sausage (see quot. 1948). Later (chiefly U.S.): short for hot dogn. 1b.
1891 J. S. FarmerSlang II. 303Dogs... (university) sausages.
Daily Press 31 Dec. 5/2
The ‘hot dog’ was quickly inserted in a gash in a roll, a dash of mustard also splashed on to the ‘dog’ with a piece of flat whittled stick, and the order was fulfilled.
21.Firearms. = dog-headn. 1a. Now historical and rare.
[Probably after either French chien (late 16th cent. in Middle French in this sense), Spanish cán (1599 in Minsheu), or Italian cane (1611 in Florio).]
a1679 P. Monckton in Monckton Papers
I immediately..clapt hold of the dog of the blunderbus.
c1686 R. LawMemorialls
He lets fall the dog, the pistoll goes off.
1829 London Jrnl. Arts & Sci.2 221
Very many of the dangers to which we are exposed from the accidental discharge of fire-arms, arises from the..construction of the lock, the trigger of which is at all times immediately connected to the dog.
1866 Sci. Amer. 2 June 385/3
I claim..the combination of the trigger with the dog and sliding guard to fire the gun.
1961 Amer. Speech36 8
The term dog was given to the cocking device of a flintlock pistol or rifle, specifically to the jaws of the hammer that held the flint.
1750 W. EllisMod. Husbandman V. 128
With a wooden and iron Dog (if Hands will not do alone) they raise the Poles out of the Ground.
1805 R. W. DicksonPract. Agric. II. 752
The poles [are] drawn up by a tool for the purpose, which is termed a dog or pulling-hook.
1893 C. A. MollysonParish of Fordoun xxv. 290
The dog, we presume, is still extant..We will quote..a description of the broom-dog... ‘It operates somewhat like a toothdrawer and eradicates the broom in an instant.’
1969 J. HendersonOpen Country Calling 186
At picking time the pole was loosened by a gadget called a dog—so there was a dog for loosening poles.
†25. A lever used by blacksmiths in hooping cartwheels. Obsolete. rare.This meaning is assigned to the word in quot. 1735 in the 1892 edition; but the object thrown is not mentioned or referred to anywhere else in the text, and it could equally well be the implement described at sense 19a.
[1735 in Court Bk. Barony Urie
He saw the defenders throw a dogg at each other, and then grapple with one another.]
1825 J. JamiesonEtymol. Dict. Sc. Lang. Suppl.Dog, a lever used by blacksmiths in shoeing, i.e. hooping cart-wheels.
†b. A stop or cam for changing or reversing the direction of motion of a part. Obsolete.
1840 Amer. Repertory Arts, Sci., & Manuf. June 387
What I claim as my invention..is the combination of the bearer and rack-wheel,..worked by the dogs in such a manner as to change the pressure alternately from the bearer to the feeder.
1867 U.S. Patent 71,409 1
This wheel is constructed in the usual manner, with this exception, that the hub is fitted with a dog or adjustable cam... The dogz, in coming in contact with the catch v, will raise and unhook it.
1886 U.S. Patent 340,881 2/1
To stop the pawl at one-half, one-third, or two-thirds of such stroke, I employ a movable dog or slide.
1833 J. HollandTreat. Manuf. Metal II. 134
A contrivance called the dog and driver, the former being a sort of clutch screwed upon the end of the work.
1853 Sci. Amer. 17 Dec. 108/1
J. Zook..has invented a self-acting carrier or dog for lathes.
1881 J. Tripplin & E. RiggSaunier's Watchmakers' Hand-bk.iv. 202
The American ‘scroll’ chucks... In them the trouble of adjusting the screws is avoided as the three ‘dogs’ are advanced together by means of a key.
b.Engineering. A device used in the cold-drawing of metal consisting of a pair of pincers mounted on a small carriage which runs on wheels along a draw-bench, pulling a ribbon of metal through rollers to reduce it to a uniform thickness. Obsolete.
1859 All Year Round 2 July 239
This dog is a small thin carriage, travelling upon wheels over a bench, under which revolves an endless chain.
1875 R. Hunt & F. W. RudlerUre's Dict. Arts
The chain..in its onward motion drags the dog, and causes it to bite the fillet and draw it through the opening.
1869 U.S. Patent 93,875 1/2
It is proposed to..secure the rail with wood keys in the usual way, instead of using dogs.
1892 Labour Comm. Gloss.Dogs, a class of nails used for fastening down rails on sleepers. Each nail consists of a long spike, with ears on the side of the head, by means of which the nail may be wrenched up and re-used.
1985 K. HowarthSounds Gradely
(North West Sound Archive)
Dogs, nails with a bent or flanged head used to hold down the rails in a coalmine.
a1400 Siege Jerusalem
Ȝif ȝe as dogges wol dey, þe deuel haue þat recche!
Prov. xxvi. 11
As a dogge that turneth aȝen to his spuyng, so is an vnprudent man that rehersith his fooli [L. sicut canis, qui revertitur ad vomitum suum, sic imprudens, qui iterat stultitiam suam].
c1500 in H. A. Person Cambr. Middle Eng. Lyrics
As for your euyll wyll, þerof woll I non; ffor hit were ouermoche ij dogges ouer o boon.
1526 W. BondePylgrimage of Perfectioniii. sig. NNii
Whan we..retourne to our pride and condicions..as the dogge to his vomytte.
b. a living (also live) dog is better than a dead lion and variants: ‘where there's life, there's hope’, often used to assert the virtue of thoughtfulness or pragmatism, especially over heedlessness or heroism.With allusion to Ecclesiastes 9:4 (see quots. a1382 and 1611).
Eccles. ix. 4Betere is a quyc dogge thanne a leoun dead[L. melior est canis vivus leone mortuo].
1561 T. Norton tr. J. Calvin Inst. Christian Relig.iii. xxv. f. 264v
Salomon speaketh of the common and receiued opinion, when hee saithe that a liuing dogge is better then a deade Lion.
Eccles. ix. 4
For to him that is ioyned to all the liuing, there is hope: for a liuing dogge is better then a dead Lion .
1679 J. HumfreyAnimadversions & Considerations 65
Those of this Errour do make the Souls of Men, before Christ's coming, mortal, and to dye with the Body; which is..worse than the Papists, their Purgatory, For a live Dog is better than a dead Lyon.
1752 L. ChappelowComm. Bk. Job I. 295A living dog is better than a dead lion: is the third among the Arabic Adagies.
1873 Illustrated Rev. 6 Dec. 455/1
On the principle that a live dog is better than a dead lion, a farce well played is preferable to an old-fashioned comedy mangled.
1910 N.Y. Times 24 Jan. 5/2
He declared that the sentiment, ‘Freedom I love thee, though thou slay me’, was foolish, and that one of the wisest statements ever made was this: ‘A live dog is better than a dead lion.’
1994 Times Lit. Suppl. 25 Mar. 6
Great heroes like Achilles..knew that it is better to be here in this life than free among the dead, just as a living dog is better than a dead lion.
2014 L. LalamiMoor's Acct. i. 11
This made no sense to me, yet I remained silent... The elders teach us: a living dog is better than a dead lion.
[after Latin canis caninam non est ( Varro De Lingua Latinavii. 32)]
dog does not eat dog and variants: people of the same calling, origin, etc., do not deliberately harm one another; conversely (let) dog eat dog (cf. dog-eat-dogn. and adj. at Compounds 3a).
1543 W. TurnerHuntyng Romishe Fox sig. Aiiv
That the prouerb may haue a place on dog will not eat of an other dogges fleshe nether will on wolf eat of an other.
1739 Life Richard Turpin 10/2
Turpin swore, if he did not deliver immediately he would shoot him through the Head, upon which King fell a Laughing, and said, What! Dog eat Dog?
1789 Times 19 June 3/1
As it is an established fact, that sharper will not rob sharper, nor dog eat dog.
f. the dogs bark but the caravan moves on and variants: suggesting that someone or something is impervious to protest or criticism.
[In quot. 1860 after Hindi musāfir calā jātā hai, kuṭṭe bhuṅkte rahte haĩ, lit. ‘the traveller has moved on, the dogs remain barking’, probably itself after a Persian or Arabic model. In later use after Persian sag lāyad va kāravān guẕarad (and variants), lit. ‘the dog barks and (or but) the caravan passes by’ and its Arabic model tanbaḥ al-kilāb wa-tasīr al-qāfila (and variants), lit. ‘the dogs bark and the caravan moves on’.]
1860 I. DassDomest. Manners & Customs Hindoos N. India xvi. 219Dogs bark but the traveller quietly goes on his way, without minding them. They say so, when a person seeks occasion to quarrel with some one, but does not succeed.
1683 R. DixonCanidia viii. 37
An ill beginner, That knows not where to get his Dinner, And will not rise to earn't: for these Leads he a Dogs life.
1764 S. FooteMayor of Garreti. 23
She..domineers like the devil: O Lord, I lead the life of a dog.
1819 W. IrvingRip Van Winkle in Sketch Bk.i. 69
‘Poor Wolf,’ he would say, ‘thy mistress leads thee a dogs' life of it.’
1851 G. BorrowLavengro II. xi. 101
What a life! what a dog's life!
1861 T. HughesTom Brown at Oxf. I. x. 183
They've been leading him a dog's life this year and more.
1980 Irish Times 25 Apr. 12/1
Temporarily speaking, it's a dog's life... The temp's sanity depends upon iron control.
1991 M. CurtinPlastic Tomato Cutter xii. 96
He must have had a dog's life... The only work he did..was to hold a mirror behind the victim's heads and inquire: Is Sir pleased?
1997 P. KimCab called Reliable i. 17
If I hadn't married the likes of you, I wouldn't be washing someone else's dishes,..looking after someone else's children. What kind of living is this? This is a dog's life.
2003 Bristol Evening Post
29 Apr. 34
He'd led her a dog's life, she couldn't bear to talk about it.
b. to let sleeping dogs (or a sleeping dog) lie: to avoid provoking or interfering in a situation that is currently causing no problems but may well do so as a result of such interference; to leave well alone.
1822 London Mag. Dec. 541/2Let sleeping dogs lie, said the daft man, when he saw the dead hound before him.
1823 W. ScottSt. Ronan's Well
I. viii. 187
But Mr Micklewham..replied with..a private admonition to his patron's own ear, ‘to let sleeping dogs lie’.
P6. hair of the dog that bit you: an alcoholic drink taken to cure a hangover. Hence elliptically, as hair of the dog.
[Apparently so called on account of the remedy formerly recommended as a cure for the bite of a mad dog; compare:
1760 R. JamesTreat. Canine Madness 204
The hair of the dog that gave the wound is advised as an application to the part injured.
Compare Dutch †Wij komen weer om't hair van de eigen hondt.]
1611 R. CotgraveDict. French & Eng. Tongues at Beste
Our Ale-knights often vse this phrase, and say, Giue vs a haire of the dog that last bit vs.
1706 E. WardRambling Fuddle-Caps 4
We leap'd out of Bed with a strong Appetitus, To swallow a Hair of the Dog that had bit us.
1834 W. A. CaruthersKentuckian in N.Y. I. iv
He presently proposed that we should go..and see some fine fellers..who were going to have a night of it. Well, said I, ‘a little hair of the dog is good for the bite.’
1841 C. DickensBarnaby Rudge lii. 239
Drink again. Another hair of the dog that bit you, captain!
1935 New Yorker 5 Jan. 80/2
Your hair of the dog, sir.
1996 S. KingDesperationii. v. 349
I was..thinking about getting something for my hangover. An aspirin, and a little hair of the dog that bit me.
2001 Brill's Content Apr. 47/2
Mike and I were both a little hungover, and Mike suggested blackberry brandy, a hair of the dog that would also settle the stomach.
P13. whose dog is dead? (also whose dog is a-hanging, †what dog is a hanging?): what cause is there for excitement or concern? what's the fuss, what's the matter? (Occasionally also without interrogative.) Now rare.Cf. earlier whose mare's dead? (quot. 16002 at maren.1 2c).
a1640 P. Massinger & J. FletcherVery Womaniii. ii. 39 in P. Massinger 3 New Playes
Whose Dog's dead now, That you observe these Vigils?
a1663 Little John a Begging viii, in F. J. Child Eng. & Sc. Pop. Ballads
III. v. 189/1
‘Why rings all these bells? What dog is a hanging?’
1790 Aberdeen Mag.3 333/1
Quidnuncs, gaping for the news; Some of them cannot read! but yet they hear..Then fly to tell thro' all the listening land Whose Dog is dead!
1841 Bentley's Misc. Aug. 146
‘A very grave man indeed, sir.’... ‘Grave?—grievous—a face as much as to say, “Whose dog's dead, that I may come and howl over it?”.’
1984 P. BealePartridge's Dict. Slang
1336/2Whose dog is dead?; whose dog's a-hanging?.. What is the matter?; what's all the fuss about?
P14. fight dog, fight bear: (to fight) till one or other of two adversaries is overcome (sometimes as an expression of indifference). Now rare.
[From the pitting of a dog against a bear in bear-baiting; compare (in an account of bear-baiting):
1583 P. StubbesAnat. Abuses sig. Piijv
Some..will not make anie bones of .xx.xl. C. pound. at once to hazard at a bait: with feight dog, feight beare (say they) the deuill part all.
a1642 W. MonsonNaval Tracts
You must fight according to the old Saying, Fight Dog, fight Bear; that is, till one be overcome.
1717 E. WardColl. Hist. & State Poems II. 21
True Protestants..should for neither pray nor care, But cry Halloo, fight Dog, fight Bear.
1831 W. ScottJrnl. 5 Mar.
A resolution to keep Myself clear of politics, & let them fight dog, fight bear.
1911 J. A. L. Riley et al. Relig. Question in Public Educ. 272
Since God has permitted the unity of religious belief in England to be shattered..there are three policies open:..(a) Live and let live. (b) Fight dog, fight bear. (c) Return to religious unity.
1766 W. KenrickFalstaff's Wedding
v. v. 69
It is but the church's calling him a tyrant, and absolving his subjects of their allegiance, and all will go well. Give a dog an ill name, and hang him.
1869 A. TrollopePhineas Finn II. lii. 117
‘Your brother, Laura, is dangerous.’.. ‘Yes—give a dog a bad name and hang him.’
1886 ‘S. Tytler’Buried Diamonds xxxix
It is a case of give a dog an ill name and hang him.
1909 Times 20 Jan. 19
In football, as in other things, ‘give a dog a bad name’ applies very forcibly, and we are inclined to think that many people were a little too anxious to find fault with the Australians.
1991 B. AndersonGirls High
Mrs Stillburn said that if you gave a dog a bad name you might as well hang it.
1867 C. M. YongeSix Cushions ix. 72
The dog-in-a-blanket making its appearance, Clara cut three beauteous slices, with spiral rings of black currant alternating with suet.
1919 Times 23 Jan. 3/2
Not the judicious mixture of flour and currants, but the skilful alternation of hasty pudding, dog in the blanket, or gooseberry fool.
1925 L. W. MoffitEng. on Eve Industrial Revol.
ii. v. 122
Seasonal dishes based on fruit were also common, such as berry tarts; and roly-poly, or dog-in-a-blanket, as it was called in Derbyshire.
P21. to be like a dog with a bone: to be tenacious, persistent, or obstinate; to be unwilling to yield, relent, or let go; to be unable to set aside a preoccupation or obsession.
1887 ‘E. Lyall’Knight-errant II. iv. 104
But Merlino with a grievance was like a dog with a bone; he would gnaw it, and worry it..and when at last you thought it was safely buried he would exhume it and begin his operations all over again.
1896 E. F. BrookeLife the Accuser xii. 159
There was Tom Ramsbottom..once he got hold of his cotton his was like a dog with a bone. Could n't let it go.
1914 P. G. WodehouseWhite Hope vii, in Munsey's Mag. May 836/1
When a lazy man does make up his mind to assail a piece of work, he is like a dog with a bone.
1950 Chicago Defender 4 Mar. 6/4
Joyce is like a dog with a bone when she gets on a certain subject.
2013 A. M. WaltersLight in Shadows
Maggie was like a dog with a bone, though, and she wasn't going to give up that easily.
P24. colloquial (chiefly British and Australian). to let the dog see the rabbit: to allow a person to do or see something without interference or restriction. Usually in imperative.
1934 P. FlemingOne's Companyi. iii. 31
I would recommend a ‘Let the dog see the rabbit’ attitude as being both wise and fair.
1968 S. GoreHoly Smoke 52
How's about givin' a man a fair crack o' the whip... Let the dog see the rabbit?
1978 Musical Times119 448
David Scott's treatment of this colourful music shows what can be done to combine scholarship, practical requirements and enthusiasm—and yet still letting the dog see the rabbit.
1863 Hunt's Yachting Mag. Apr. 150
The establishment of a central authority in the shape of a club..may some day be thought as necessary for the welfare of yacht, as it has been found of horse and dog racing.
b. attributive and in the genitive. Designating the excrement of dogs, frequently in similative phrases as the type of something disgusting, worthless, bad, etc. Chiefly colloquial and slang. Cf. dog shitn.
d. Instrumental, parasynthetic, and similative, as dog-bitten, dog-bright, dog-drawn, dog-driven, dog-eyed, dog-footed, dog-furred, dog-gnawn, dog-haired, dog-hated, dog-hearted, dog-looked, dog-looking, dog-whining, etc. See also dog-facedadj., dog-headedadj., dogleggedadj.
1601 P. Holland tr. Pliny Hist. World II. 363
A stone which a dog hath taken vp with his mouth and bitten, wil cause debate and dissention in the company where it is..it is growne into a common prouerbe..when we perceiue those that dwel in one house together to be..at variance..to say, You have a dog-bitten stone here among you.
1608 W. ShakespeareKing Lear xvii. 46
His own vnkindnes..gaue her deare rights, To his dog-harted daughters.
1667 R. L'Estrange tr. F. de Quevedo Visions 2
A wretched kind of a dog-look'd fellow..his Cloaths all in tatters.
1680 R. L'Estrange tr. Erasmus 20 Select Colloquies v. 62
Out comes the Dog looking Gray-beard again.
1765 T. ZouchCrucifixion 6Dog-ey'd Lust, Rifling the bosom of chaste innocence.
e. With adjectives, used as an intensifier: thoroughly, utterly; extremely; as dog asleep, dog-drunk, dog-hungry, dog-lame, dog-lean, dog-mad, dog-poor, dog-sick, etc. See also dog cheapadj., dog-tiredadj., dog-wearyadj.
f. In depreciative sense: bad, spurious, bastard, mongrel; as dog eloquence, dog-English, dog-Greek, dog-logic (also dog's logic), dog rhetoric, dog-rhyme, etc. See also dog-Latinn. at Compounds 3a. Now archaic.
[In dog eloquence after post-classical Latin canina facundia (4th cent.).]
1542 T. ElyotBibliothecaCanina facundia, dogge eloquence. A prouerbe applyed to suche as doo neuer exercise theyr tunge or penne, but in reprouing or blamynge other men.
1565 M. Harding in J. Jewel Def. Apol. Churche Eng.
Luther would stampe, and rage, and whette his dogge eloquence vpon you.
dog and bonen.
Britishslang. a telephone.
1961 J. FranklynDict. Rhyming Slang
146/1Dog and bone, 'phone... This term seems to have evolved since the second war, probably partly due to the increase in the number of telephones installed.
1989 Daily Tel. 22 Mar. 31/1
British Telecom brings to you the telephone of the future—the dog and bone that offers self-improvement and self-expression.
1996 Sporting Life
Yesterday, yours truly was just settling down with a crate of lagers ready to watch a Chubby Brown video when the dog and bone starts buzzing.
Lazerbuilt Chic Telephone, £19.99... This amazing Dog and Bone is £49.95.
1615 H. CrookeΜικροκοσμογραϕια 169
In the disease called Boulimos, there is hunger without appetite, and in the Dog-appetite, there is appetite without hunger.
1725 E. StrotherEss. Sickness & Health ii. 226
Dekkers..is in the right to commend Spirits of Wine, and Aqua Vitæ, in the Dog-Appetite, because, as I have hinted above, it dulcifies the Sour.
1862 Chambers's Jrnl. 14 June 374/1
This antiquated dame was tormented with what was then called a dog-appetite—although we question whether our own Carlos, Cæsar, or silky-eared Fan could have emulated her feats in the eating line.
1904 Clin. Jrnl. 13 Apr. 408/1
It is what we call a canine or dog appetite, or the hungry evil, a voracious hunger.
(also dog's breath)
originally U.S. foul-smelling breath in a dog; (hence) foul-smelling breath in a person, halitosis (also as a term of abuse).Attested c1944 as the nickname of a United States Army Air Force B-17 bomber aircraft.
Standard-Examiner 2 Dec. 16 a/4
He found the stuff [sc. deodorant] ‘harmless as a lettuce leaf’ to a dog's digestive system, yet a sure cure for ‘dog breath’ and body odors.
1959 Dial Fall 70
With Sello..leaning on café tables, blowing his old dog's breath into Stern's face, the student felt that at last he had made contact with real European life.
1981 Washington Post 29 Oct. b1
Do you wanna sit down, dog-breath, or would you prefer a collapsed lung?
1998 J. PritchardHollyoaks
(Mersey TV transmission script)
Episode 255. 18
Isn't that something you and dog's breath need to be discussing?
2004 J. MilliganBoth Sides of Story 78
If I didn't love you, I wouldn't tell you that you had dog breath!
1854 J. G. WoodSketches Animal Life 134
There is the dog-dance, in which the liver of the dog is suspended to a pole..The Indians..commence a slow dance round the pole.
1931 B. Evans & M. G. EvansAmer. Indian Dance Steps 95
‘The Peace Dance is..almost the same as the Dog Dance.’ Back of all these conflicting versions there is probably a very ancient symbolic ceremonial whose origin is lost in the obscurity of a remote past.
dog hairadj.North Americanattributive (of a stand of trees, a forest, etc.) consisting of densely packed trees, often spindly from lack of sunlight, and typically arising from natural seeding after burning or forest clearing.
1971 Jrnl. Range Managem.24 200/2
A properly managed cover of grasses reduces erosion,..allows for the return to timber, and aids in eliminating ‘doghair stands’ of trees.
dog-hangingn.English regional(a) (formerly, in Essex) a wedding feast held to collect money for the bride (historical in later use);(b) (more generally) any social gathering (now rare).
[Probably with allusion to the gathering at the spectacle of dog being publicly (and sometimes judicially) hanged; compare what dog is a hanging? at Phrases 13.]
1646 Maldon Parish Rec. 12 Mar. in W. W. Addison Essex Heyday
[Thomas Reid heard William Came say] that the next day being the sabbath day he was to go to a dog-hanging feast to Robert Bigges's house.
1699 W. WinstanleyEssex Champion ix. 133
Now in most parts of Essex (where this Wedding was kept) it is a common Custom when Poor People Marry, to make a kind of a Dog-Hanging, or Mony-gathering, which they call a Wedding-Dinner.
1949 W. W. AddisonEssex Heyday 103
But as disapproval of mirth is as constant as enjoyment of it, we must have this curious report of a dog-hanging feast in the spring of 1646.
1994 P. BealeLet.
Gus Thornton, in conversation..remarked that ‘a dog hanging’ was well known to his generation (born ca. 1920) as a term for any sort of social gathering or celebration.
dog-killern. a person who kills dogs; spec. an official appointed to kill dogs suspected of having or carrying some disease.
1592 T. NasheStrange Newes sig. C 3v
Out vppon thee for an arrant dog-killer, strike a man when he is dead.
?1608 Orders Ld. Mayor & Aldermen London
That order be taken that no Hogges, Dogges or Cattes..be suffred to be kept within any parte of the Citie,..and that the Dogges be killed by the Dog-killers, appointed for that purpose.
1631 B. JonsonBartholmew Fayreii. i. 16 in Wks. II
A worthy worshipfull man..who would take you, now the habit of a Porter; now of a Carman; now of the Dog-killer, in this moneth of August.
1841 L. M. ChildLet. 26 Aug. in Lett. from N.Y.
The company of dog-killers themselves are a frightful sight, with their bloody clubs, and spattered garments.
1991 Toronto Star
4 Dec. a3
A million dogs have been killed in one southern China province,..most of them bludgeoned to death in a campaign against rabies... Squads of dog-killers had been hard at work in Guangdong province.
dog leadern. a person who leads a dog or dogs; spec. a servant in charge of dogs (now historical).
1607 E. TopsellHist. Foure-footed Beastes 142
Iupiter himselfe was called Cynegetes, that is, a Dogge-leader; because he taught the Arcadians first of all to hunt away noysome beasts by the helpe of Dogges.
1679 T. BlountFragmenta Antiquitatis 35
To be the Kings Vauterer or Dog-leader in Gascoigny, till he had worn out a pair of Shoes of four pence price.
dog lockn.Firearms (now historical) an early type of flintlock, usually of English manufacture, having an external safety in the form of a pivoted hook which engages a notch in the rear, underside, or breast of the cock; (also) a gun fitted with this type of lock.
1753 D. HenryHist. Descr. Tower of London 37
Some arms..are distinguished..by having what they call Dog-locks, which Kind of Locks have a Ketch to secure them from going off at Half-cock.
1859 Jrnl. Royal United Service Inst.3 No. 11. 311
The reign of James II. may fairly be considered as the commencement of adopted flints, connected with which system is the doglock catch at the back of the cock.
dog madnessn. now rare = rabiesn. 1; also in figurative contexts.
1678 tr. M. Charas Royal Pharmacopœaii. xix. 123Pulvis contra Rabiem. A Powder againg [sic] Dog-madness.
1715 J. Delacoste tr. H. Boerhaave Aphorisms 304
It's called..because mostly proceeding from the bite of Dogs, a Dog-madness.
1834 T. CarlisleSartor Resartus in Fraser's Mag. June 673/2
It [sc. Utilitarianism] spreads like a sort of Dog-madness; till the whole World-kennel will be rabid.
Times 14 July 1/3
He has foaming at the mouth, violent twitching of the limbs and other symptoms of dog madness.
1997 Xinhua News Agency
No fewer than six people have died as a result of rabies..following what was reported as an outbreak of dog madness in the three local government areas of the state.
dog-mastern. a person in charge of a dog or dogs; a dog leader or trainer.
c1585 Let. of Estate in Notes & Queries
Torne them [sc. old horses] to grase..or els take forty pence of the dogmaster for there scinne.
1611 L. BarryRam-Alleyiv. i. sig. Gv
When did you see sir Theophrastus Slop, The Citty Dog-maister?
?1747 J. RayCompl. Hist. Rebell. 173
They..will jump and dance at the Sound of the French Horn, being used to that Note by an old Dogmaster at Paris.
1852 Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper 17 Oct. 1/1
Could any cunning dog-master have taught one of Derby's pointers to utter the words delivered by the Right Hon. William Beresford, the feat would have been a matter of curiosity.
1956 Times 5 May 8
Though there are shining exceptions, the ladies in general do not excel as dog masters.
1992 Vancouver Sun
7 May b2
Dogs receive three months intensive training before going on the road with a dogmaster.
dog peltern.U.S. (now historical) a person whose job is to kill stray or unlicensed dogs; also in allusive phrases with reference to the menial or unpopular nature of such a job; cf. peltern.3 1a, dogwhippern. 1a.
1822 J. GaltSteam-boat xvi. 338
I would, however, like it if the gangs..were treated, as other dog-pelters, constables, and town-officers, commonly are.
1859 H. E. TaliaferroFisher's River 232
Sich a onhuman man can't git my vote fur dog-pelter.
1906 in D. F. Littlefield A. Posey
If he takes sides he won't 'mount to nothin' an' couldn't be dog pelter.
1997 Early Amer. Homes
Official dog-whippers or dog-pelters were appointed to control obstreperous barkers.
dog-polen. now historical a pole drawn by a dog, formerly used by North American Indians for transporting baggage (see quot. 1804).
1804 J. OrdwayJrnl. 22 Sept. in Jrnls. Lewis & Clark Exped.
We found Some of their ceeder dog poles... We are informed that the Indians tie..dogs to these poles and they have to dragg them from one camp to another loaded with their Baggage.
1965 Amer. Speech40 95Dog-poles. Poles used by American Indians to make a light sled, drawn by dogs.
dog powern. the power of a dog, esp. harnessed to some mechanical device (as a spit or churn), or used to draw a vehicle (as a cart, sled, or the like).
1846 D. P. GardnerFarmer's Dict. 158/1
Churns are moved by horse or dog power, water, and even steam-engines.
1932 Geogr. Rev.22 171
Scott made one of his few errors in distrusting dog power for his journeys.
1961 Times 14 Apr. 16
Across the Atlantic... [there was] comparable use of dog-power by treadwheel..to raise water from wells, to churn butter..and even to drive a printing press, a washing machine, and a circular saw.
2007 Alaska Outdoors
It was all our power-challenged machines could do to get everyone up the glacier... Kristan and a few others used dog power.
† dog-rappern.Obsolete (English regional) (historical in later use) an official employed to drive dogs out of a church or chapel; = dogwhippern. (in extended use sometimes applied to other minor church officers); (also) the switch or stick used for dog-rapping.
1854 Wilts. Archæol. & Nat. Hist. Mag.1 90
The magistrate at Newbury told me..that when he was a boy they [sc. vergers] were called dog-rappers... At the time when Dog-rappers were required, the state of the canine race must have been very different.
1854 Gentleman's Mag. Apr. 398Dog-rappers..were weapons for driving dogs out of churches.
1615 H. CrookeΜικροκοσμογραϕια 754
Those conuulsions which we call Cynicke or Dogge-spasmes, because by the contraction of these, men are constrained to writh and grinne like Dogges.
1649 J. BulwerPathomyotomia xxiv. 204
The Muscles are contracted into their proper heades, and with them they rivell that part into which they are inserted, which indeede is common to the naturall and præternaturall Plaise-mouth or Dog-Spasme.
dog-stoppern.Nautical (now historical) a heavy rope secured round the mainmast and used to back up the stopper (stoppern. 9) for additional security in rough weather.
1791 J. H. MoorePract. Navigator
Bend the Buoys and Bouy-ropes, single the Stoppers,..have the Dog-Stoppers to pass [etc.].
1793 R. H. GowerTreat. Theory & Pract. Seamanship viii. 75
An approved form for a dog-stopper is to have it made with a large eye, that it may be thrown over the bit-head, and shifted over from side to side at pleasure.
1867 W. H. Smyth & E. BelcherSailor's Word-bk. at Stopper of the CableDog-stopper, a strong rope clenched round the mainmast, and used on particular occasions to relieve and assist the preceding [i.e. the stopper of the cable, or deck-stopper] when the ship rides in a heavy sea.
1989 P. O'BrianThirteen-gun Salute ii. 64
See, they undo the deck-stoppers, or dog-stoppers as some superficial observers call them.
1918 Hatchet 22 Feb. 2/1
All that will be necessary will be to consult his finger print name and other matters of interest on the little steel tag around his neck, variously known as ‘Dog Tag’, ‘license to live’, but to the Medical Department as an Identification Tag.
1947 Penguin New Writing XXIX. 159
If I should die to-morrow, I suppose this is where my bones, if not my dog-tag, would lie for ever.
1952 C. D. MacDougallUnderstanding Public Opinion 645
Charles Woodford, license clerk at the ASPCA, took a sample census of dog tags down there and found that Fido ‘was as dead as the dodo’.
1999 Daily Tel. 14 May 18/2
They are encouraged to have their religious preferences stamped on the metal dog-tags each soldier wears.
2007 Telegram & Gaz.
25 June a1
Amos was wearing a red harness..and a dog tag with his name and Mr. Weaver's address.
dog teamn. a team of dogs used to draw a vehicle, esp. a sled.
1822 Adams Centinel
24 Apr. 2/4
A team of dogs that draws a small waggon..is spoken of as having caused much gaping... The managers of the Philadelphia Theatre, have employed this or another dog team to exhibit on the stage.
1856 E. K. KaneArctic Explor. I. xvi. 198
They brought my dog-team, with the restoratives I had sent for.
1928 Publishers' Weekly 16 June 2461
The author worked as a dog-team freighter in Alaska during the gold-rush.
2003 Daily Tel. 13 Feb. 15/3
The mushers, many of whom have spent months training their dog teams for the contest, have expressed concern that global warming..will mean in future that the race will not be run along its normal route.
1862 J. CookSiege of Richmond ii. 34
Wedge-tents, used by the officers, and little dog-tents, by the men, shone in every direction as the sun's rays struck them.
1863 A. W. KinglakeInvasion of Crimea II. xi. 181
The French soldiery were provided with what they called dog-tents—tents not a yard high, but easily carried, and yielding shelter to soldiers creeping into them.
dog trialn. a competition involving a test or series of tests of the skill of working dogs, esp. sheepdogs tending sheep; usually in plural.
1874 F. C. S. Pearce in Kennel Club Cal. & Stud Bk.1 p. v
The Club shall be called the Kennel Club, it shall endeavour in every way to promote the general improvement of dogs, dog shows, and dog trials.
1951 L. G. D. AclandEarly Canterbury Runs ix. 303
He was also a lover of Border collies and at one time almost unbeatable at the dog-trials.
dog tuckern.Australian and New Zealand dog food, spec. (in early use) mutton used as food for working dogs, or an unsaleable sheep fit only for this; also figurative (cf. dog's meatn. 2).
1933 L. G. D. Acland in Press
7 Oct. 15/7Dog Tucker. In the old days when Merino sheep were worth even less than they are now, it was the custom to throw in a few to the drover on delivery to make up for losses on the road. They were called dog tucker. E.g., ‘I'll throw ten in for your dogs.’
1965 Weekly News
10 Feb. 39/4
The pup's master had thrown him a small piece of mutton, cut from the dog tucker hanging in a tree.
1988 Sunday Mail
Bill Ord argues for conservation, culling and cuisine. We should be eating and wearing kangaroos, not turning them into dog tucker.
2008 N.Z. Herald 23 July
The champion coach would be dog tucker at the merest hint he saw his new job as a chance to right a personal wrong.
1850 A. NicholsonLights & Shades of Irelandiii. xxii. 437
These men do what the superficial age would call the dog-work of the church—the work which some, who hold a higher station in it, would not stoop to do.
1989 N.Y. Woman Sept. 47/1
We're sitting in a corner doing dog work.
2003 N.Y. Times 31 July f6/2
The design-builders are saving the special craft of things for themselves and leaving the dog work to subcontractors.
dog yearn. originally North American a notional unit of time (typically reckoned as 1/
7 of a year) based on the supposed ratio between the average lifespan of a dog and that of a human; (hence, in plural) a (seemingly) long time (cf. dog's agen. at Compounds 3d).
1938 T. WhitePuerto Rico & its People xxiii. 285
Perrito Blanco was taken on board the cruiser, introduced to new quarters, and there for many a year as dog years count, he remained in naval service.
1978 Los Angeles Times 28 Oct. iii. 2/1
Chronologically, I'm 27... But in the NFL you age in dog years. What is it, seven dog years to one human year?
31 July a2
28 dog years later, Tamber has been reunited with his family. Tamber was collared at an Edmonton-area lake cabin this week—four years after he disappeared.
2008 C. Muller & B. Thorpe365 Nights 207
High school was, sadly, dog years ago..but a fiancée? Well, that was practically yesterday.
1678 J. P. tr. J. Johnstone Descr. Nature Four-footed Beasts 79/2
Some [Badgers] are wild, and rough-bristled; some are Dog, and some Hog, Badgers or Grays... The Dog-Badgers have a Dogs grin, and dig their holes in gravelly places.
1731 T. SalmonMod. Hist. XIV. 109
Of Badgers there are two sorts, the one call'd the Dog Badger, from his resembling a Dog in his Feet, and the other the Hog-Badger, from having a Cloven-hoof like a Hog.
1827 E. Griffith et al. Cuvier's Animal Kingdom V. 116
The country people pretend to distinguish two varieties, under the names of the Dog-Badger and the Hog-Badger, but they are not authenticated.
(also †dog's cockle)
any of numerous burrowing bivalve molluscs of the family Glycimerididae, which have a highly convex, almost spherical shell with prominent hinge teeth; esp. the large Glycimeris glycimeris of the Atlantic and Mediterranean; also called comb shell.
1772 J. RuttyEss. Nat. Hist. Dublin 379Chama Glycymeris..the bastard Cockle, and by the Fingallians called Dog's Cockle.
1800 E. DonovanNat. Hist. Brit. Shells II. Pl. XXVII
Chama glycemeris... It is found likewise on the shores of Guernsey, and the coast of Ireland, where it is called the dog's cockle.
1901 E. StepShell Life v. 63
The Dog-cockle or Comb-shell (Pectunculus glycimeris) has an appearance quite distinct from any other native species.
1924 C. E. R. BucknillSea Shells of N.Z. 87Glycymeris laticostata... The Large Dog cockle or Comb shell.
1999 New Statesman 8 Nov. 53/1
Sea creatures are dealt with fascinatingly, as you'd expect from Davidson. He covers dog cockle and pompano as well as tuna and cod.
dogwinklen. now chiefly U.S. any of several predatory marine gastropod molluscs of the genus Nucella (formerly Thais or Purpura; family Muricidae); esp. (more fully Atlantic dogwinkle) the common dog whelk, N. lapillus.
[1853 E. Forbes & S. HanleyHist. Brit. Mollusca III. 386
This whelk [sc. Purpura lapillus] is called Dog-periwinkle on many parts of the coast.]
c. In the names of plants, often denoting kinds considered inferior, worthless, or unfit for human consumption. See also dogberryn.1, dogwoodn., etc.In this section, compounds with dog and those with dog's have been treated together as variants of one another.
dog-cherryn. now rare the cherry-like fruit of any of various plants considered unfit or unpleasant to eat, esp. (in early use) that of the honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum, and (later) the dogwood, genus Cornus; (also) any of these plants; cf. dogberryn.1 2b.
1597 J. GerardHerballiii. vii. 1113
Vpright Woodbinde or Honisuckle is called Periclymenum..: in high Dutch, Honds kirsen, that is to say, Canum cerasa, or Dog Cherries.
1745 R. JamesMedicinal Dict. IICanum cerasa, Dog-cherries. A Species of Periclymenum, the same as Xylosteum.
1837 H. Murray et al. Encycl. Geogr.
II. i. xvi. 151
The Mahaleb Cherry... The fruit, which is bitter, and called by the Tartars Dog cherry, is the principal ingredient employed for preparing ratafia and cherry brandy.
1863 R. C. A. PriorOn Pop. Names Brit. Plants 68Dogberry or Dog-cherry, the fruit of the Dogwood tree, misunderstood as referring to the quadruped.
1933 Amer. Botanist39 65
The original ‘dogwood’ was probably Cornus sanguinea... The plant is also called ‘dog-cherry’, ‘dog-berry’, and ‘houndsberry-tree’.
1633 T. JohnsonGerard's Herball
ii. cdxxx. 1064
Thalius calls it Apium cicutarium:..Tabernamontanus, Petroselinum caninum; which name we may fitly make English, and call it Dogs-parsley.
1745 W. EllisAgric. Improv'd II. July 78
As I keep tame Rabbets, I am obliged to be very careful in preventing Hemlock being gathered, and given them, for Dog parsley.
1836 Lancet 17 Dec. 423/1Æthusa cynapium, or dog's parsley, is marked by spasmodic pain of the stomach, and difficulty of breathing.
2001 Daily Tel.
10 Feb. 11
The poisonous weed fool's parsley was also thought to be an Anthriscus; it is now separately identified as Aethusa cynapium; its other name, as you would expect, is dog parsley.
[after Hellenistic Greek κυνοκράμβη < ancient Greek κυνο-cyno-comb. form + κράμβηcramben.]
now rare(a) a fleshy plant, Theligonum cynocrambe (family Rubiaceae), grown as a pot-herb in Mediterranean regions;(b) = dog's mercuryn.
1712 J. Browne tr. P. Pomet et al. Compl. Hist. Druggs I. 154/2
The..Dog's-Wort Cotton..grows upon a Plant which the Botanists call Apocynum Cynocrambe, which signifies Dog's-Cabbage.
1822 S. ClarkeHortus Anglicus II. 478
Purslane Thelygonum, Dog's Cabbage. Several stems, spreading, a span long, leafy, smooth, purplish.
1832 R. MudiePop. Guide Observ. Nature viii. 340
The perennial mercury, or ‘dog's cabbage’, said to be so called from dogs preferring it to any other plant, when they physic themselves with green vegetables.
dog's camomilen. either of two similar plants of the family Asteraceae ( Compositae), stinking chamomile, Anthemis cotula, and wild chamomile, Matricaria recutita, both of which are strongly scented and have flowers composed of white ray florets with yellow discs; cf. camomilen. b.
1578 H. Lyte tr. R. Dodoens Niewe Herballii. xxx. 186
The second kinde is now called..in English..Dogges Camomile.
1684 R. SibbaldScotl. Illustr.i.ii. 17
Chamæmelum inodorum... Mayweed, or Dogs-Camomile.
1714 Philos. Trans. 1713
Yellow hoary Cape Camomil... Its leaves are very fine resembling Dogs Chamomil.
1829 S. CooperGood's Study Med.
Of the bitters, one of the most elegant, as well as most effectual, is the extract of chamomile. Yet the matricaria chamomilla, or dog's chamomile, seems to rival its powers.
2001 W. T. Parsons & E. G. CuthbertsonNoxious Weeds Austral.
254Anthemis cotula... Alternative names: dillweed, dog's camomile, dog-daisy.
(also †dog's call, †dog's cawl)
[apparently < the genitive of dogn.1 + either cauln.1 or cauln.2]
now rare any of several plants which are poisonous to dogs; esp. dog's mercury, Mercurialis perennis.
1578 H. Lyte tr. R. Dodoens Niewe Herballi. liv. 77
The wilde Mercury is called..in English..Dogges Call.
1656 Earl of Monmouth tr. T. Boccalini Ragguagli di Parnasso 27
Mallows, Henbane, Dogs-caul, and other pernitious plants.
1727 Family Dict.Dog's cawl... The uncreeping Apocynon shoots forth great Twigs of an ill Scent.
(also dog chop, dog's chops)
now rare a short-stemmed succulent native to South Africa, Carruanthus ringens (formerly Mesembryanthemum caninum; family Aizoaceae); also called fig marigold.
† dog's leekn.
(also †dog leek)
[compare Byzantine Greek κυνόπρασον]
Obsolete any of several bulb-forming plants, esp. the star of Bethlehem, Ornithogalum umbellatum, and a wild form of the leek, Allium ampeloprasum.
1548 W. TurnerNames of Herbes sig. B.vjv
Bulbine..maye be called in englishe dogges Leike.
dog's mouthn.English regionalrare the snapdragon (genus Antirrhinum).
1824 H. PhillipsFlora Historica II. 176
From its monopetalous corolla forming a mask, which resembles the face of an animal..it has..hence received various names, as Dog's Mouth, Lion's Snap, Toad's Mouth, and Snap-Dragon.
1926 Times 27 Sept. 13/4
The snap-dragon, or Antirrhinum, is locally known as rabbit's mouth, bull dogs, lion's snap, toad's mouth, and dog's mouth.
1999 B. J. WardContempl. upon Flowers 328
Besides snapdragon, former common rural English names include lion's snap, toad's mouth, calf's snout, and dog's mouth.
1947 O. PercivalOur Old-fashioned Flowers 80Ornithogalum umbellatum, Eleven-o'-Clock-Lady, Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon, High Star of Bethlehem, Star of Ethiopia, Star-flower, Eye-of-Christ, Bird's-eye, Bird's-milk, Dog's Onion, Dove's-dung, Bread-of-Samaria.
(also dog's standard, dog stander, dog standers)
now English regional and rare ragwort, Jacobaea vulgaris.
1767 J. NelsonExtract of Jrnl. 100
I do not fear the Man that can kill me, any more than I do him that can cut down a Dogstander [1795 dog-standard].
1828 W. CarrDial. Craven
Dog-standard, Rag-wort. Senecio Jacobœa.
1840 J. C. KnowlsonYorks. Cattle-Doctor & Farrier
If you cannot procure Barberry bark, get a handful of ragwort, commonly called dog-standers, and boil it four minutes.
1888 F. A. LeesFlora W. Yorks. 292
Senecio Jacobæa L. Ragwort. ‘Dogstanders’. ‘Seggrum’.
1899 F. P. Thompson in Eng. Dial. Dict.
You see them yeller flowers; them's wot we used to call dog's standards.
2005 M. Tait & O. TaylerCountryside Compan. 122
This rather unfortunate effect has helped give the plant a number of rather derogatory names in various parts of the country, including:..Stinking nanny, Stinking Willie, Dog standard, [etc.].
dog's breakfastn.slang (in early use only similative) a confused mess; = dog's dinnern.
1892 Ballymena Observer in Eng. Dial. Dict.
III. 691/1In a lump like a dog's breakfast, said of a heterogeneous heap of things.
1907 Black Diamond Express Monthly Feb. 21/2
The passenger train which went east yesterday morning looked like a dog's breakfast. There were a few Pullmans, a diner or two,..baggage, mail cars..mixed up for half a mile.
1915 New Castle
News 13 Feb. 2/5
They abandoned the plan, went ahead in their own way, and have gotten their side all messed up, like a dog's breakfast.
1959 Times 29 Apr. 10/4
He can't make head or tail of it... It's a complete dog's breakfast.
2004 Classic Rock Oct. 102/3
The 1974 record..is either the furthest-reaching concept album ever made, or the biggest dog's breakfast in the entire history of the state of California.
1902 E. F. BensonScarlet & Hyssop i. 4
‘Scraps only, scraps from other places. It always reminds me of a dog's dinner,’ said Lady Alston; ‘and all of us who live here are like scraps for a dog's dinner, too. Bits of things, remnants, a jumble sale.’
1957 Times 30 Mar. 6/5
There were such serious flaws that to amend it in the usual way might turn it into a ‘statutory dog's dinner’.
1971 J. WainwrightLast Buccaneeri. 35
North End is a dog's dinner of hovels, dives and drinking dens.
1996 M. SyalAnita & Me
What have you done to your hair, eh? Dog's dinner or what, aaar!
1998 N. HornbyAbout Boy
Though he didn't mind giving Marcus the odd can of Coke, he wasn't about to embroil himself in the sorry dog's dinner that was Marcus's life.
2004 Time Out 25 Aug. 75/4
Hard to muster a coherent reading of this confused dog's dinner of a movie.
1755 T. Smollett tr. M. de Cervantes Don Quixote II. ii. iii. 123
She is gnawed by a dog's hunger that is never satisfied.
1800 S. T. Coleridge tr. F. Schiller Piccolominii. ii. 10
And those state-parasites, who have their feet So constantly beneath the Emperor's table, Who cannot let a benefice fall, but they Snap at it with dog's hunger.
1742 J. AyresSancho at Courtiii. 31
Why looke there! I thought you wou'd contrive some Dog's Trick to plague me.
1762 L. SterneLet. 14 June in Lett. 1739–64
Let your portmanteau be tied at the forepart of your chaise for fear of a dog's trick.
1820 W. ScottAbbot II. 102
Many a dog's trick have I played old Lilias for want of something better to do.
Gaz. 6 Nov. 4
If they [sc. the Nazis] did not have in the back of their minds the possibility of playing some dog's trick on France they would scarcely be taking so much pains to announce their sorrow over having to fight that country.
1847 G. LippardQuaker City I. 140
‘D'ye edit your paper, by yourself?’ ‘Bless you, no!..Whenever I find an author in extreme distress—rather out of pocket, you know?—I take him into my office; give him a dog's salary, and make him do a dog's work.’
1851 Amer. Rev. Apr. 371/2
Am I to wear out all the poor remainder of my days in this dog's-work?
1912 E. F. MurphyOpen Trails xxii. 240
I like this better than copying, for copying is dog's work.
2005 D. M. OshinskyPolio ix. 152
Doing the dog's work that his betters refused to do.