Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dog Idioms

Dog Idioms
Last week we took an etymological look at dogs, hounds, pooches and the like. This week, it’s on to dog idioms, and the English language is rife with ‘em. I imagine this is a response exclusive to word-nerds, but reading any list of idioms simply makes me laugh. I hope this list gives you a giggle.

dog & pony show
shaggy dog story
as sick as a dog
like a dog with a bone
call off the dogs
dirty dog
dog eats dog
every dog has its day
raining cats & dogs
go to see a man about a dog
hot diggety-dog!
a dog’s life
let sleeping dogs lie
meaner than a junkyard dog
put on the dog
tail wagging the dog
hair of the dog that bit you
life in the old dog yet
you can’t teach an old dog new tricks
in the dog house

I had a bit of a milquetoast upbringing & had always heard one of the above terms, yet really hadn’t constructed much meaning for it. Then, in my twenties I had a character of a roommate named Mick. He kept me laughing with his Irish accent, colorful terms & his drinking ways. Nearly every Saturday morning I’d get up to see Mick sitting on our lumpy, brown floral sofa, his eyes at halfmast & a beer in his hand. “Hair o’ the dog what bit ya,” he’d say, wincing between swigs.

Followers, please add something in the comments section:
1.    What dog idioms did I leave out?
2.    Tell your tale about one of the idioms above.

My thanks go out to this week’s sources The OED & Etymonline. The Free Dictionary, Cesar’s Way


  1. Oooh. This is fun. I think you got most of them.

    How about "That dog won't hunt", country bumpkin for "that rumor isn't true."

    Or "don't dog me around" as in the Howlin' Wolf song "How many more years, have I got to let you dog me around?/I'd soon rather be dead, sleeping six feet in the ground".

  2. Fun!

    What about, "Dog days of summer"?

  3. Hey Anne & Heather,
    Ha! Good additions. I suppose another one I missed is "three dog night".

  4. These are great fun! Many more dog idioms than cat idioms I presume. How about doggone it? Does that count? Probably not but a great word anyway!

  5. Hi Christine,
    Doggone it works for me. Thanks for popping by.