Common Dog-Related Terms

atkins bookshelf wordsWhat better way to celebrate National Dog Day, founded by animal advocate Colleen Paige in 2004, than to review how canines have contributed to the English lexicon? “[The dog] regulates your heart. Your dog is the ultimate acolyte; he believes you are the very image of God. His centrality to our lives has led inevitably to an equally central place in our language — the word “dog” alone or as part of a description of dog qualities or behaviors finds dozens of everyday applications,” writes Donald Friedman in his dog-friendly book, My Dawg, Dog: A Lexicon of Dog Terms for People. Here are some highlights:

Big dog: the boss or an important person

Cut dog: a person that has been rendered powerless

Dirty dog: a devious person

Dog days: the sweltering hot days of summer (usually in August)

Dog-eared: bent corners of a book or paper

Dog-eat-dog: extremely competitive

Dog-face liar: a compulsive liar

Dogged: persistent

Doggerel: humorous verse composed in irregular rhythm

Doggie bag: a container for leftover food from a restaurant

Dog-hearted: cruel

Dog shelf: the floor

Dog-tired: exhausted

Dog years: a long time

Dogs of wars: mercenaries

Doggie style (also doggy style): fornicating like canines, with one person on all fours. The ancient Romans referred to this position as coitus more ferarum, meaning “sexual intercourse in the manner of wild beasts.” The ancient Indian Hindu text, the Kama Sutra (written between 400 BC and 200 AD) refers to this position as “congress of the cow” or the “cow position.” Moo!

Dog’s life: a wretched existence

Lucky dog: a very fortunate person

Puppy love: adolescent infatuation

Let sleeping dogs lie: don’t stir up trouble where it doesn’t exist

Like a dog with a bone: someone who clings to an idea or a topic

Read related post: What is the Smartest Breed of Dog?
Most Famous Dogs in Literature
Can Dogs See in Color?
Do Pets Make Us Better People?

Epitaph to a Dog
The Best Movies for Dog Lovers
Best Dog Novels
Best Quotes About the Loss of a Pet Dog

What Famous Authors Name Their Pets
Chaser, the Smartest Dog in the World

For further reading: My Dawg, Dog: A Lexicon of Dog Terms for People by Donald Friedman (2013)
http://www.nationaldogday.com/#!about1/c141h

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