Definition of dog in English:

dog

Line breaks: dog
Pronunciation: /dɒg
 
/

noun

1A domesticated carnivorous mammal that typically has a long snout, an acute sense of smell, non-retractile claws, and a barking, howling, or whining voice.
  • Canis familiaris, family Canidae (the dog family); probably domesticated from the wolf in the Mesolithic period. The dog family also includes the wolves, coyotes, jackals, and foxes
More example sentences
  • Shouts mingle with the barking and howling of dogs.
  • ‘All dogs have an intense sense of smell, and every dog likes to sniff,’ Smith said.
  • Her size makes it impractical to use her as a patrol dog, but her sense of smell is so keen she can detect even trace amounts of drugs.
Synonyms
hound, canine, mongrel, cur, tyke; male dog; bitch, pup, puppy, whelp
informal doggy, pooch, mutt
Australian informal mong, bitzer
1.1A wild animal of the dog family.
More example sentences
  • We watched the wild cats and dogs frolicking in the winter sunlight.
  • Teufel-hunden were originally known as the wild, ferocious mountain dogs of Bavarian folklore.
  • In most mammals, adult play is rare, but it is common in dolphins, members of the dog family, great apes and, of course, humans.
1.2The male of an animal of the dog family, or of some other mammals such as the otter: [as modifier]: a dog fox
More example sentences
  • The male dog otter measured 41.5 inches in length with a girth of 26 inches.
  • A male, or dog, otter can range over six to eight miles, far further than a female.
  • A member of the waterworks department shot a fine dog otter on the lower Rivington reservoir.
1.3 (the dogs) British informal Greyhound racing: a night at the dogs
More example sentences
  • People went to football in the afternoon, went to the dogs in the evening and took the train home.
2 informal An unpleasant, contemptible, or wicked man: he was interrupted by cries of ‘dirty dog!’ come out, Michael, you dog!
More example sentences
  • By the way, you can keep the pun you wretched journalistic dogs.
2.1 [with adjective] dated Used to refer to a person of a specified kind in a tone of playful reproof, commiseration, or congratulation: your historian is a dull dog you lucky dog!
More example sentences
  • He got up with his hand wrapped around her little waist… that lucky dog!
  • If that next race is the bottom of the new grade, this lucky dog might have a chance of stumbling into the money again.
  • It's true - I'm a lucky dog.
2.2Used to refer to someone who is abject or miserable, especially because they have been treated harshly: I make him work like a dog Rab was treated like a dog
More example sentences
  • The schools are good so there's no need to work like a dog to pay school fees.
  • Do you think this helps explain why today's corporate bosses are treating American workers like dogs?
  • They were treated as dogs, they were hungry, and the goddess of justice refused to review their plight.
2.3 informal , offensive An unattractive woman.
2.4Australian/NZ informal An informer or traitor: one day she’s going to turn dog on you
2.5 informal , chiefly North American A thing of poor quality: a dog of a film
More example sentences
  • Move too early, and you might end up backing a dog of a technology.
  • If he understands that it's a dog of a deal, why do you think he'd consider supporting it?
  • With a lead clenched less than firmly in his sweaty palm, he then contrived to play a dog of a game in the middle of the second set.
2.6 informal A horse that is slow or difficult to handle.
3Used in names of dogfishes, e.g. sandy dog, spur-dog.
4A mechanical device for gripping.
More example sentences
  • The firm have been making grips for years and these dogs here felt so soft and comfortable.
5 (dogs) North American informal Feet.
6 (dogs) Horse Racing, US Barriers used to keep horses off a particular part of the track.

verb (dogs, dogging, dogged)

[with object] Back to top  
1Follow (someone) closely and persistently: photographers seemed to dog her every step
More example sentences
  • When you have a leader of his passion and effectiveness, you have a media that's very much tracking him and dogging him and trying to find what they can about him.
  • He laughs about how the police are still - and probably forever - on his tail, even dogging him on his recent US book tour.
  • Since Sally was the only member of the group who would acknowledge Yap's existence, the little gnome dogged her every step, chattering excitedly.
Synonyms
1.1(Of a problem) cause continual trouble for: the twenty-nine-year-old has constantly been dogged by controversy
More example sentences
  • For the last 5-1/2 years this process has been dogged by problem after problem.
  • The school - which has a police officer stationed on site - has been on special measures for five years and has been dogged by problems.
  • The system has been dogged with problems since it came on line in 1999.
2 (dog it) informal , chiefly North American Act lazily; fail to try one’s hardest: Eric had a reputation for dogging it a little
More example sentences
  • He entered the season with a reputation for dogging it when he wasn't the primary receiver.
  • He loved the game and didn't mind ragging on the players when they were dogging it.
  • The Americans actually were dogging it late in the third as the Germans led 67-65, but Pierce sank a 10-spot on their heads as a part of a 12-0 run to close the quarter.
3Grip (something) with a mechanical device: [with object and complement]: she has dogged the door shut
More example sentences
  • Its convex shape and dogging mechanism made it look as though it were an enlarged part of a submarine, scavenged from some terrestrial scrap yard and grafted onto the bulkhead.
  • There was a muted boom as the Captain closed and dogged the ships inner lock shut behind us.
  • She places the child inside the engineering space before stepping through herself and dogging the hatch behind her.

Origin

Old English docga, of unknown origin.

Phrases

dog and bone

British rhyming slang A telephone.
More example sentences
  • Ten minutes later he's on the dog and bone again.
  • We had little info on this brewery apart from a phone number, so we reached for the dog and bone and had a natter to the owner.
  • Burly Dad conducts his antique business in a cockney accent on the dog and bone.

dog-and-pony show

North American informal An elaborate display or presentation: the department never really had a chance to get its dog-and-pony show under way
More example sentences
  • Vendors who couldn't afford dog-and-pony shows handed out free bags, pens, toothpicks, mugs, tape measures and sugarcoated churros.
  • They're not meeting with us, and when they do meet with us, it's a dog-and-pony show.
  • Josh focuses on this paragraph from yesterday's Presidential dog-and-pony show held at the Commerce Department to push for an end to class-action lawsuits.

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: New York is a dog-eat-dog society
More example sentences
  • So there's a harsh side to the real world of competition; where competition's fierce, it can be dog eat dog.
  • ‘It's very quiet, the standard is unbelievably high and it's dog eat dog,’ says Maguire.
  • It's a dog eat dog situation even in the law enforcers' world.

dog in the manger

A person who prevents others from having or using things even though he or she does not need them: [as modifier]: your cold, grudging, dog-in-the-manger sort
[alluding to the fable of the dog that lay in a manger to prevent the ox and horse from eating the hay]
More example sentences
  • Still, I suppose you can't prevent progress, and I shouldn't be a dog in the manger.
  • No sooner had the Finance Minister announced the decentralisation plan in his latest Budget than the begrudgers in Dublin were adopting a dog-in-the-manger attitude.
  • However, the ECB has maintained its dog-in-the-manger stance on inflation currently 0.2% above the official target rate of 0.2%.

a dog's age

North American informal A very long time: the best I’ve seen in a dog’s age
More example sentences
  • Later that same Sunday, I went to the first major comix/sci-fi convention to come to Boston in a dog's age.
  • I'd known him for a dog's age but a little bit of Jer went a long way.
  • It was some of the funniest stuff I'd seen in a dog's age.

dogs bark, but the caravans move on

proverb People may make a fuss, but it won’t change the situation.

the dog's bollocks

British vulgar slang A person or thing that is the best of its kind.

a dog's dinner (or breakfast)

British informal A poor piece of work; a mess: we made a real dog’s breakfast of it
More example sentences
  • All in all it is a dog's dinner, literally, with local residents living with the mess and hazard.
  • In design terms it's a dog's breakfast, a grey, smudgy mess that seems to stagger off ancient presses each week.
  • It all adds up to a dog's breakfast of departmental rivalry, layer upon layer of confused delivery and strategic confusion.

a dog's life

An unhappy existence, full of problems or unfair treatment: he led poor Amy a dog’s life
More example sentences
  • And the man on street (literally and figuratively) has a dog's life.
  • He is leading a dog's life at the moment.
  • The self-evident fact that the numbers applying for asylum correlate precisely with countries where a dog's life would be a step up is of no account.

the dogs of war

literary The havoc accompanying military conflict: the strategy would let loose the dogs of nuclear war
[from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar ( iii. 1. 274)]
More example sentences
  • They hate having to break from a comfortable routine and they will cry havoc and loose the dogs of war on anybody who tries to take something from them.
  • He has no reason to let loose the dogs of war on his neighbours.
  • One problem with loosing the dogs of war is that sometimes it's hard to get them back on the leash.

dressed (up) like a dog's dinner

British informal Wearing ridiculously smart or ostentatious clothes: look at her, dressed up like a dog’s dinner
More example sentences
  • Who's going to look a silly boy then, all dressed up like a dog's dinner in front of that lot!
  • You know, some of the showbiz ladies around here - they go to the shops dressed up like a dog's dinner.
  • If, by chance, you happen upon a fashionista dressed like a dog's dinner, do not be alarmed when she tells you that she's being ‘ironic’.

every dog has his (or its) day

proverb Everyone will have good luck or success at some point in their lives.
More example sentences
  • There comes a time to stop, every dog has its day, and I think I have had mine.
  • In parallel with his ascendancy to the top of the NFL tree went his present team, their unlikely transformation from zeroes to heroes last season illustrating that every dog has its day.
  • It's not nice to keep losing but every dog has its day.

give a dog a bad name and hang him

proverb It’s very difficult to lose a bad reputation, even if it’s unjustified.
More example sentences
  • It could, however, be a case of ‘give a dog a bad name and hang him’.
  • But give a dog a bad name and hang him, as the saying goes.
  • He explains why ‘as a variant on the popular advice to give a dog a bad name and hang him,’ he proposes to ‘give this piper an exceedingly bad name and hang on to it.’

go to the dogs

informal Deteriorate shockingly: the country is going to the dogs
More example sentences
  • When the factories closed, everything went to the dogs.
  • Law and order went to the dogs after the Whitlam social experiments of excessive welfare, booming populations of single mothers, poor discipline in schools.
  • Everybody had to run hard to keep up the real level of their own earnings, while the country went to the dogs.
Synonyms
deteriorate, be in decline, degenerate, decay; collapse, slump, slip, slide, go downhill, go backwards, go to rack and ruin, stagnate, wane, ebb
informal go to pot, hit the skids, go down the toilet, go down the tubes
Australian/New Zealand informal go to the pack
rare retrograde

like a dog with two tails

Used to emphasize how delighted someone is: ‘Is he pleased?’ ‘Like a dog with two tails.’
More example sentences
  • My brother was like a dog with two tails when his girlfriend agreed to marry him; he was really happy.
  • My husband is like a dog with two tails about this holiday having never been on a cruise before!
  • I felt like a dog with two tails, because I was proud to have been in Montgomery's Eighth Army.

not a dog's chance

No chance at all: you wouldn’t have a dog’s chance a month ago I didn’t give him a dog’s chance
More example sentences
  • There is not a dog's chance of that happening.
  • He says, ‘They are not to blame, they have not a dog's chance - we should be like them if we settled here.’
  • There is not a dog's chance of the country recovering to the top half of the organisation within a decade.

put on the dog

North American informal Behave in a pretentious or ostentatious way: we have to put on the dog for Anne Marie
More example sentences
  • Al, with his short curly hair greased back, was putting on the dog and crooning a ballad into a microphone.
  • The CEO put on the dog today as he welcomed customers to the enterprise software company's annual users' conference.
  • Because the companies usually have inked deals before the show with key licensees, why drag the whole staff and put on the dog for three dizzying days?

throw someone to the dogs

Discard someone as worthless: young people look upon the older person as someone to be thrown to the dogs
More example sentences
  • Then the punters, who have encouraged every vice or flaw, hold up their hands in mock outrage and throw them to the dogs.
  • I'm willing to throw him to the dogs for leaking about our listening in on the terrorist's satellite phones.
  • The clear inference was that the Island authorities got wind of the investigation and decided to throw him to the dogs.

you can't teach an old dog new tricks

proverb You cannot make people change their ways.
More example sentences
  • I wonder if sometimes doctors think it's unsuitable because they think you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
  • But I say that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
  • Like they say, you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

why keep a dog and bark yourself?

proverb Why pay someone to work for you and then do the work yourself?

Derivatives

dogdom

noun
More example sentences
  • Harry's a mixed breed - ‘the couture of dogdom’ to quote the Italian actress and model.
  • I mean the circuses where dogs are somehow persuaded to do things that are antithetical to dogdom, like learn to ride a tricycle or serve petits fours in a French maid's outfit.
  • To my knowledge, dogdom hasn't yet solved the visible fence problem.

doggish

adjective
More example sentences
  • Tough to break down and doggish in their efforts, they took the Kingdom to a replay before eventually losing out 2-9 to 3-10.
  • The artist used bravura painterly techniques to depict comic-book-style characters, many of whom had buck-toothed, doggish muzzles and half-rounded, Mickey-like eyes.
  • The woman was too deep in thought to even consider what the doggish creature was doing.

doglike

adjective
More example sentences
  • Today the slender doglike creatures with pointy ears and bushy tails can be found in every state except Hawaii.
  • Somewhat doglike in appearance, he had greyish-brown fur, a short, boxy muzzle, and a tiny stub of a tail, but also had long, pointy ears, a small button nose, and royal blue hair on his head.
  • He snarled, showing off his doglike fangs in a rage.

Definition of dog in:

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Word of the day apposite
Pronunciation: ˈapəzɪt
adjective
apt in the circumstances or relation to something