All Stories in the ‘Dog Words & Phrases’ Category

Dog Words & Phrases

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Go to the Dogs Meaning: To be ruined; to get into a bad situation from which recovery is all but impossible Origins & History: From the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans, food deemed no longer fit for human consumption might well “go to the dogs” or be ” thrown to the dogs,” because […] Read More...

Dog Words & Phrases

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Basset Meaning: Description of a type of long-eared, short-legged dog once used for hunting foxes and badgers (and therefore also known as a basset hound). Origins & History: “Basset” was not originally the name of a type or breed of dog – it was simply a description, in French, of fogs that were short in […] Read More...

Dog Words & Phrases

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Dog In the Manger Meaning: A person unwilling to let other people have or do something, even though their having it or doing it is of no actual consequence or value to the first person. Origins & History: Derives from a Fable of Aesop (sixth century BCE, although he amounts pretty much to a fable […] Read More...

Dog Words & Phrases

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Barking Mad Meaning: Loony, barmy, completely crazy (mainly in British and Australian slang) Origins and History: Derived specifically from the connection between barking and the moon – because the moon is responsible for lunacy (Latin luna, “the moon”) and for lunatics, who are for that reason “loony” *From the book Dog the Wag by Mike […] Read More...

Dog Words & Phrases

Friday, September 9th, 2011

PARIAH DOG Meaning: A dog that might have once been domesticated, but has since loss its home and turned wild, surviving meagerly on scraps and garbage on teh edge of an urban or rural village community, and being chased away on sight by local human residents. Origins and History: A term that dates from the […] Read More...

Dog Words & Phrases

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Tyke Meaning: A non-pedigree and less than well-trained dog; persistently troublesome terrier; mischievious or bumptious person (especially a child). Origins and History: Old Scandinavian tik meant a dog that was likely to cause problems, thus particularly a bitch.  U.S. English has concentrated since the seventeenth century on the more canine aspects, whereas British English has […] Read More...

Dog Words & Phrases

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Berryhuckle Meaning: A round of drinks (in Scotland) Origins and History: Coined in recent times as a deliberate distortion on top of rhyming slang: “Huckleberry Hound” implies “round” (of drinks), and “Huckleberry” is then reversed – and not Spoonerized, as claimed by some commentators – to “berryhuckle.” From the book Dog the Wag by Mike […] Read More...

Dog Words & Phrases

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Cave Canem Meaning: Beware of the dog (in Latin) Origins and History: An expression found on the walls and gates of homes in ancient Rome and Pompeii, although the verbal imperative cave meant rather more than “beware”: it meant “be advised,” and was a legal technical term used in contracts and public proclamations Read More...

Dog Words & Phrases

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Cynosure Meaning: The center of attention, the star attraction, the magnetic draw Origins And History: An ancient Greek astronomical reference to the Pole Star, the star that marks the north in the night sky and that in former centuries was accordingly a primary directional indicator to sailors.  From a modern viewpoint, that star – Polaris […] Read More...

Dog Words & Phrases

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Once Bitten, Twice Shy Meaning: An event that produces a bad experience is sensibly avoided thereafter. Origins and History: Various expressions with much the same meaning have appeared in English since before the time of Chaucer – such as “A burnt child dreads the fire” (1320) – and William Caxton’s translation of Aesop’s fables (1484) […] Read More...



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