Though these days the term wordmonger refers to "a writer or speaker who uses language pretentiously or carelessly," please join me in proposing a new meaning. A fishmonger appreciates and promotes fish, therefore, a wordmonger does the same for words.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hair of the dog

Hair of the dog

Dogs make it into English idioms all the time, as dogs make their way into our hearts. As you consider this photo of Zoe, who recently left this crazy earth, consider these:

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, EtymonlineThe Free Dictionary,Cesar’s Way



    1. Ben - You're a man of many links. Thanks.

  2. Replies
    1. Steve -- Dog-gone! I missed that one. Thanks.

  3. A southern idiom I've learned through following politics: this dog won't hunt.
    Also hot summer day: dog day afternoon

    1. Excellent. "This dog won't hunt" brings to mind an Irish proverb I've always liked, which goes something like -- "A dog hunting has no fleas." And thanks for coming by.

  4. How about "like a dog in a manger" and "you lie down with dogs, you're gonna get up with fleas."

  5. Perfect! Thanks, Anne. I wish I had the scholarly chops to investigate whether this linguistic fascination with dog idioms is an Anglo-Saxon thing, a romance language thing, common to all languages, or something else altogether.