dog / dôg/ • n. 1. a domesticated carnivorous mammal (Canis familiaris) that typically has a long snout, an acute sense of smell, and a barking, howling, or whining voice. It is widely kept as a pet or for work or for hunting or fishing. The dog family (Canidae) also includes the wolves, coyotes, jackals, and foxes. ∎ a wild animal of the dog family. ∎ the male of an animal of the dog family, or of some other mammals such as the otter: [as adj.] a dog fox. ∎ (in extended and metaphorical use) referring to behavior considered to be savage, dangerous, or wildly energetic: he bit into it like a dog. 2. inf. a person regarded as unpleasant, contemptible, or wicked (used as a term of abuse): come out, Michael, you dog! ∎ used to refer to a person of a specified kind in a tone of playful reproof, commiseration, or congratulation: you lucky dog! ∎ used in various phrases to refer to someone who is abject or miserable, esp. because they have been treated harshly: I make him work like a dog. ∎ inf. offens. a woman regarded as unattractive. ∎ inf. a thing of poor quality; a failure: a dog of a movie. 3. short for firedog. 4. a mechanical device for gripping. 5. (dogs) inf. feet: my tired dogs. • v. (dogged , dogging ) [tr.] 1. follow (someone or their movements) closely and persistently: photographers dog her every step. ∎ (of a problem) cause continual trouble for: the committee has been dogged by controversy. 2. (dog it) inf. act lazily; fail to try one's hardest. 3. grip (something) with a mechanical device. PHRASES: dog eat dog used to refer to a situation of fierce competition in which people are willing to harm each other in order to succeed: in this business, it’s always dog eat dog | popular music is a dog-eat-dog industry. a dog's age inf. a very long time. a dog's life an unhappy existence, full of problems or unfair treatment. the dogs of war poetic/lit. the havoc accompanying military conflict. go to the dogs inf. deteriorate shockingly: the country is going to the dogs. hair of the dogsee hair. put on the dog inf. behave in a pretentious or ostentatious way. rain cats and dogssee rain. (as) sick as a dogsee sick1 . throw someone to the dogs discard someone as worthless.
The nickname of Diogenes was the Dog.
dog and pony show an elaborate display or performance designed to attract people's attention (chiefly North American).
dog days the hottest period of the year (reckoned in antiquity from the heliacal rising of Sirius, the Dog Star (see below).
dog does not eat dog people of the same profession should not attack each other. The saying is recorded from the mid 16th century, but a similar idea is found in De Lingua Latina by the Roman scholar and satirist Varro ((116–27 bc), ‘canis caninam non est [a dog does not eat a dog's flesh].’
dog-eat-dog used to refer to a situation of fierce competition.
dog in the manger a person who is inclined to prevent others from having or using things that one does not need oneself, from the fable of the dog that lay in a manger to prevent the ox and horse from eating the hay.
a dog is for life, not just for Christmas the slogan of the UK's National Canine Defence League (now Dogstrust), introduced in 1978 with the intention of dissuading people from giving puppies as Christmas presents.
dog Latin a debased form of Latin; the term is recorded from the late 18th century, and represents a derogatory use of dog.
the dog returns to its vomit a pattern of unpleasant behaviour is likely to be repeated. The saying is recorded from the late 14th century, and is often used with biblical allusion to Proverbs 26:11, ‘As a dog returneth to his vomit: so a fool returneth to his folly.’
dog rose a delicately scented Eurasian wild rose with pink or white flowers, which commonly grows in hedgerows, the root of which was in classical times thought to cure the bite of a mad dog.
Dog Star the star Sirius. The name is a translation of Greek kuon or Latin canicula ‘small dog’, both names of the star; so named as it appears to follow at the heels of Orion (the hunter).
a dog that will fetch a bone will carry a bone someone given to gossip carries talk both ways; saying recorded from the mid 19th century.
dog-tooth a small pointed architectural ornament or moulding forming one of a series radiating like petals from a raised centre, typical of Romanesque and Early English styles.
every dog has his day everyone, however insignificant, has a moment of strength and power. The saying is recorded from the mid 16th century; a modern equivalent might be Andy Warhol's ‘famous for fifteen minutes’.
every dog is allowed one bite proverbial saying, early 20th century, based on the common law rule (dating from at least the 17th century) by which the keeper of a domestic animal was not liable for harm done by it unless he knew of its vicious propensities. If a dog had not bitten anyone before, a tendency to such behaviour could not have been known.
give a dog a bad name and hang him once a person's reputation has been blackened their plight is hopeless. The saying is recorded from the early 18th century. (Compare he that has an ill name is half hanged.)
See also black dog, dogs, a live dog is better than a dead lion, is thy servant a dog?, the tail wags the dog, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, there are more ways of killing a dog, a woman, a dog, and a walnut tree.
In the Bible the dog is usually spoken of disparagingly, the references being however to ownerless dogs which prowl in inhabited areas (Ps. 59:7, 15), feed off animal carcasses and human corpses (i Kings 23:38), and attack passersby (Ps. 22:17). "Dog" was a derogatory term (ii Kings 8:13) and apparently was applied to a male temple-prostitute (cf. Deut. 23:19). However, shepherd dogs were bred (Isa. 56:11; Job 30:1). Divergent views were expressed by the sages on the rearing of dogs. The Mishnah says: "One should not rear a dog unless it is kept on a chain" (bk 7:7). There was also opposition to rearing dogs in Ereẓ Israel, R. Eleazar declaring that "he who rears dogs is like one who rears swine" (ibid.tb 83a). It was however permitted in a frontier town where "one keeps it chained during the daytime and looses it at night" (ibid.) and one amora even stated that a man should not live in a town "in which no dogs bark" (Pes. 113a). There is no explicit information extant on the breeds of dogs reared in biblical times. Pedigree dogs were probably raised alongside the local dog, Canis familiaris putiatini, of which there were different types. Various breeds of dogs appear in Assyrian and Egyptian monuments. The use of hunting dogs is attested by an ivory comb from Megiddo showing a dog hunting a mountain goat. Mosaics dating from mishnaic and talmudic times also depict dogs. The Mishnah distinguishes between a common dog, which resembles a wolf, and a village or wild dog, which resembles a jackal (Kil. 1:6; cf. Ber. 9b). Attacks by mad dogs were a common occurrence; the rabbis refer frequently to rabies and give the symptoms by which to recognize a mad dog (Yoma 83b, 84a).
F.S. Bodenheimer, Ha-Ḥai be-Ereẓ Yisrael (1953), 264–8; idem, Ha-Ḥai be-Arẓot ha-Mikra, 2 (1956), 331–9; J. Feliks, Kilei Zera'im ve-Harkavah (1967), 121–3; Lewysohn, Zool, 82–89. add bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 242.
Hence dog vb. follow like a dog. XVI. dogged †ill-conditioned XIV, †canine XV; pertinacious XVIII; see -ED 2.