Well, I'll be dog-gone!

Uses of the word 'dog'

Unsurprisingly, the name of man's best friend has richly permeated the English language, being used in a wide a variety of forms and derivatives. I thought it would be fun to make a list of all the known uses of the word 'dog' - sayings, proverbs, slang, expressions, idioms (expressions that don't make sense when taken literally - my favourites!)... whatever. Although I am excluding quotes - tooooo much to cope with. (At least for now.)

Browsing through the list, you'll see that an uncomfortably large proportion of the entries refer to the act of 'sexual connection' (elegantly put, if I may say so!) and disparaging terms for women (I'm not making them up, I'm just listing them!). Well, dog bite my ear! I'm not applying any personal bias in creating the listings so this isn't a dog-trick - I'm just listing what exists! 

Omitted from the list are the rapidly proliferating 'street', or 'urban', cultural expressions, whose permanence is yet to be proved. These expressions are almost universally offensive in explanation - let's have a bit of decorum about the place, eh!

So far, there's a huge UK bias to the list (because I'm in the UK). If you have any suggestions from your country for additions to this list don't use the dog and bone, just please email them to me - I'll be happy to add them and give you a credit on the page too! Only restriction - they must have the word 'dog' in them. (Big thanks already to my friends in Australia, Canada, USA and West Indies - you're all top dogs!).

Equally, if you think you can improve on the definitions offered, or expand on the historical background, please get in touch with me.

Where the term isn't essentially UK-based (or originated in the UK), the country is noted. 

OK, I've let the dog see the rabbit... here's the list - I'm as proud of it as a dog in a doublet!

A barking dog never bites Describes people who sound more dangerous than they really are.
A bit of a dog Derogatory term in referring to a woman.
A dog 1.  Something that is generally not fit for purpose, usually through deterioration.
2.  A particularly unattractive female.
A face that would scare a dog out of a butcher shop 1.  Not pretty. (Australia)
2.  Very ugly. (Australia)
A dog is (a) man's best friend An expression of unconditional love and loyalty, irrespective of the situation.
A tough dog to keep up on the porch A person who is difficult to restrain. (North America)
Ain't nothing but a hound dog Familiar to most of us (who remember it) as a hit for Elvis Presley in the 1960s, 'You Ain't Nothing but a Hound Dog' is one of the most popular Blues songs ever written. It was first recorded in 1953 by Blues singer Willie Mae 'Big Mama' Thornton. Back then it was not uncommon for songs recorded by African American performers in the 30s, 40s, and 50s to be reissued by white artists - making them more acceptable to white audiences. Even a Blues song like 'Hound Dog', written by Mike Lieber and Jerry Stoller, with a lyric obviously from the perspective of a woman complaining about her no good, lying, cheating, shiftless man could be readdressed and made more popular by a white, male performer. Sad. (North America)
All dogged-up In one's smartest clothes.
A (mere) dog in a doublet A pitiful creature. But also see 'As proud as a dog in a doublet'!
An old dog at it An expert at something, often a craft.
Argue like cat and dog Disagree forcefully and unrentingly.
As fat as a butcher's dog Very fat. A butcher's dog would be expected to be very well - too well - fed from scraps. But also see 'As fit as a butcher's dog'!
As fit as a butcher's dog Very fit. But also see 'As fat as a butcher's dog'!
As proud as a dog with a tin tail Very proud. (Australia)
A sad dog Derogatory term in referring to a woman.
As proud as a dog in a doublet Exceedingly proud. But also see 'A (mere) dog in a doublet'!
As quick as a dog can lick a dish To perform an action or thought very speedily.
As sick as a dog Help please!
bar-dog Bartender. (North America)
Barking dogs seldom bite If someone's busy doing something unpleasant, they probably haven't got time to do something even more unpleasant.
Better be the head of a dog then the tail of a lion Better to be strong in your own attitudes - however weak those attitudes may be - than timidly follow other people's attitudes - however strong those attitudes may be.  
Big dog Important person.
Bird dog Someone's buttocks (remember that song - 'She's a bird dog'?) (North America)
(The) black dog Colloquial term for medical depression. Thought to have been originated by Winston Churchill, Britain's great wartime leader, who himself suffered from depression or 'visits from the black dog'.
Bull dogs A pair of pistols.
(It's) blowing dogs off chains A term used by sailors to describe a very stiff breeze. Believed to have originated in the Australian sailing community, now universal.
Call me a dog, get called a bitch A comment made about one's own comment in an escalating tit-for-tat exchange which has taken place.
Call off the dogs Cease some objectionable line of conduct. The analogy is that of the chase, in which dogs following a wrong sent are called off.
Crooked as a dog's hind leg Very crooked.
Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war Military: The order Havoc! was a signal given to the English military forces in the Middle Ages to direct the soldiery (as Shakespeare would describe them 'the dogs of war') to pillage and chaos.
Cut dog has no pups Before the playing cards are dealt, declining to cut the pack. (North America)
Dog 1. To relentlessly follow, or shadow, someone.
2. To have sexual connection on all fours.
3.  To post a student for an examination on the last available day.
4. A poorly-performing stock market share.
Dog along To fare tolerably, passably.
Dog and bone Cockney (Londoner) rhyming slang for a telephone, an instrument of communication in wide use before email was invented.
Dog and Bonnet Military: The lion-and-crown badge of the King's Own Scottish Borderers.
Dog and Duck   A public-house sign, to announce that ducks were hunted by dogs within. The sport was to see the duck dive, and send the dog after it.
Dog and maggot Military: An army term for biscuits and cheese.
Dog and pony show Put on a good performance; to impress someone. eg, "I've got to do the 'dog and pony show' for my boss today".
Dog-basket Nautical: The receptical in which the remains of the cabin meals (for the officers) were smuggled forward (to the crew) in sailing ships.
Dog-biscuit 1. Military: An army matress, determined by shape and colour.
2.  Military: The staple biscuit issued to troops on active service in World War I (1914-18). Unsalted, unflavoured, and very, very hard! Mmmmm, sounds scrummy!
Dog bite my ear! A lower class expression of astonishment.
Dog biting dog Applied originally to one actor's adversely criticising another's performance, now more generally used within any profession.
Dog-bolt A colloquial term of contempt.
Dog booby Military: An awkward lout; a clodhopper.
Dog-box   A passenger carriage on rural railways without a corridor, each compartment having its own door to the platform. And sometimes its own toilet (think about it!). (Particularly Australia)
Dog breath Particularly unpleasant way of referring to, or addressing, someone.
Dog-buffer   A dog stealer that kills all dogs for whom the owners don't advertise, selling the skins and feeding the other stolen dogs with the carcasses. 18th and 19th centuries (relief!)
Dog-cart A police car. (Australia)
Dog-catchers A train crew sent to relieve a crew that has become 'outlawed' - ie, worked the maximum permitted hours of 16 in one shift. (Canada)
Dog-cheap   Exceedingly cheap whilst offering good value. A perversion of the old English 'god-chepe' (a good bargain). As in "buy1or2.com's dog life jackets are dog-cheap"
Dog-clutch   A disconnectable coupling.
Dog-collar A 'stand-up' stiff collar, especially a clergyman's reversed collar.
Dog-dancing   Useless and exaggerated activity, such as a dog engages in capering with glee on the return of his master (or mistress).
Dog day afternoon The hottest part of the hottest day. Popularised when used as the title of the classic 1975 bank hostage film starring Al Pacino.
Dog-days (of summer) 1. The best of days. More literally, days of great heat. The Romans called the six or eight hottest weeks of the summer 'caniculares dies' ('Days of the dog'). According to their theory, the dog-star (Sirius), rising with the sun, added to its heat, and the dog-days bore the combined heat of the dog-star and the sun (3 July - 11 August). Siriusly!
2. The slowest period (summer) of the year in the USA stock market.
Dog-drawn   A low colloquialism, said of a woman from whom a man has, in the act of sexual connection, been forcibly removed.
Dog driver Policeman, used in an insulting or contemptuous context. (West Indies)
Dog-eared The corners of leaves of paper, crumpled and folded down.
Dog eat dog Expresses the way equal, unrestricted, competition can have drastic results! It would appear that the phrase originated as 'dog doesn't eat dog', which can be traced back to an original Latin quotation, meaning that even a (supposedly) lowly creature like the dog has limits, if not principles, and will not destroy its own kind. History tends to indicate that humans are not so principled as dogs: by the 16th century, people were imagining a world in which metaphorical dogs did devour each other, and 'dog eat dog' had come to mean 'ruthlessly competitive'. Not surprisingly, by the time of the Industrial Revolution, phrases such as 'It's a dog eat dog world' had become commonplace.
Dog-end A cigarette end, sometimes known as a cigarette 'butt'. It is probably a corruption of 'docked end' - a cigarette that is kept for another smoke having first been quenched or docked. (A 'cigarette' was a thin tube of tobacco, wrapped in paper. People used to light one end, place the other end in their mouth, and draw the burning tobacco into their lungs. Strange but true!)
Dog-faced liar Said of a person who has told a blatant untruth or who repeatedly tells untruths.
Dog fall An unfair fall in wrestling, where both wrestlers fall together.
Dog-fancier A receiver of stolen dogs and restorer of the same to their owners - for a fee.
Dog-fat Military: Butter.
Dog-fight Military: An RAF colloquialism, perhaps best defined, implicatively, by P.C. Wren in 'The Passing Show', 18 August 1934: "But the best sport of all was a dog-fight, an all-on-to-all scrap between a flight of British Bristol Scouts and a bigger flight of Fokkers, everybody shooting-up everybody, a wild and whirling melee from which every now and then someone went hurtling down to death in a blaze of smoke and fire". Later, the term has come to be used for one-to-one flying engagement.
Dog-flight buttons Military: The buttons worn by those on the Army's General Service list.
(pronounced as one syllable)

To be followed-about by someone (physically) or something (mentally).

(pronounced as two syllables)

Unrelenting; persistent.

2. Sullen, snappish, like a dog (some of them, anyway!).

Perhaps the origin of 'dog-gone'.

Dogger 1.

One who practices dogging, the collecting, cleaning and selling of dog-end tobacco.

2. To cheat; sell rubbish.
3. A professional hunter of dingoes. (Australia)
Doggers Multi-coloured swim shorts. (Particularly Australia)
Doggess Supposedly jocular way of calling a woman a bitch.
Doggie A colloquial pet name for a dog.
Doggie Day New Year's Day. (ie, when dog licences were required, the day in the UK when such licences were renewable.)
Doggin See 'dog-end'.
Dogging Watching acts of sexual connection, particularly in public places, with the willing agreement of the participants.
Dog-gone Colloquial euphemism for, and fantastic perversion of, 'God-damned'. (Particularly USA)
Doggo party An unattractive female.
Dog-grass Grass eaten by dogs when they have lost their appetite; it acts as an emetic and purgative.
Doggy 1. Stylish, smart, whether of appearance or of actions.
2. See 'Doggie'.
Doggy Day See 'Doggie Day'.
Doggy fashion To have sexual connection on all fours, combining as dogs would mate.
Dog-head In machinery, that which bites or holds the gun-flint.
Dog-headed Tribes of India Mentioned in the Italian romance of Guerino Meschino.
Dog-house Railroadmen's 'caboose' - a sleeping and eating carriage exclusively for their use. (Canada)
Dog in a blanket Nautical (mostly): A roly-poly pudding.
Dog in a doublet A daring, resolute fellow, reflecting the way German hunting dogs would be protected in a boar chase with a leather doublet.
Dog it To be lazy; to avoid work. (USA / Canada)
Dog it up To behave or dress in an ostentatious or showy manner. (USA / Canada)
Dog-Latin Bad, sham or pretended Latin.
Dog-leech A quack. Formerly applied to a medical practitioner, it expresses great contempt.
Dog-leg 1. Military: A good conduct chevron. See also 'Dog's leg'.
2. To make an angled detour, perhaps around a forbidden zone.
Dog-leg left Sharp turn to the left, particularly on a golf course fairway, or perhaps on a road or pathway..
Dog-leg right See 'dog-leg left' (but to the right!).
Dog Licence A Certificate of Exemption to allow an Aboriginal to buy a drink in an hotel. (Australia)
Dog meat Food unfit for consumption by human beings.
Dog my cats! Expression of surprise at the confidence with which another person, whose knowledge of  the topic you have cause to doubt, offers their opinion. ("My goodness; what do you know?")
Dog-nap A short sleep enjoyed in a sitting position.
Dog-napping The practice of stealing pets.
Dog nobbler A gaudy (any colour but often orange) chenille and marabou attractor lure used in fly fishing.
Dog on it! See 'dog-gone'.
Dog out To keep watch for accomplices up to no good.
Dog-robber Military: A servant or aide of a high officer, who will do anything (even rob dogs!) to supply his master with food and liquor suitable to his rank. I can think of another word for him!
Dog-rose Botanical name, so called because it is supposed to cure the bite of a mad dog.
Dog-rough Very unpleasant; hard.
Dogs 1. Military: The 17th Lancers or Duke of Cambridge's Own Lancers (UK). The crest of this famously cavalry regiment is a Death's head and cross-bones over OR GLORY, whence the acronistic Death Or Glory (D.O.G.).
2. In stock exchange phraseology, means Newfoundland Telegraph shares (as in Newfoundland dogs).
3. Metal legs supporting an open fire basket.
Dogs bark, but the caravan moves on A situation where many minor characters may be vocal and loud, but the main idea or project will continue to progress. (Saudi Arabia)
Dog's bird leg A lance corporal's single stripe.
Dog's body In working environments, the junior upon whom the wearisome errands and unwelcome jobs are devolved.
Dog's bollocks The typographical combination of a colon and a dash (use your imagination!).
Dog's bottom A facetious term of address. 'Is he the dog's bottom?' (Is he any good?) (Australia)
Dog's breakfast A mess; confusion; turmoil. Dogs are known to eat vomit. Further, dog food prepared by humans tends to be a random mix of different things together and actually often looks somewhat like vomit. The phrase is a reference to the appearance of what dogs eat.
Dog's cock An unwieldy back splice.
Dog's diddy See 'Dog's cock'.
Dog's dinner See 'Dog's breakfast'.
Dog's disease Influenza. (Australia)
Dogs'-ears See 'Dog-eared'.
Dog's face Colloquial term of abuse.
Dogs have masters, cats have staff Dogs are typically obedient to humans, but cats have humans serving them. (USA)
Dog's lady See 'Doggess'.
Dog's legs Military: The chevrons worn on the arm designating non-commissioned rank, not unlike in outline the canine hind leg. See also 'dog leg'.
Dog's licence References to the monetary amount of 7/6d (in old UK money - about 37.5p in new money - can't think there's much use for the term now!).
Dogs' meat 1. See 'Dog meat'.
2. Anything worthless.
Dog's-nose A mix of gin and beer.
Dog's paste Sausage- or mince-meat.
Dog's portion Almost nothing; a lick and a smell.
Dog's prick Typographically, an exclamation mark.
Dog's rig Sexual connection to exhaustion, followed by back-to-back indifference.
Dog-shelf The floor, as sarcastically said to a child dropping something: "That's right, hang it up on the dog-shelf!".
Dog-shooter Military: A volunteer in the Army.
Dog-sick Sick as a dog. Very sick.
Dog-sleep A pretended sleep, based on the fallacy that dogs seem to sleep with one eye open.
Dog's soup Water.
Dog-star The brightest star in the firmament (Sirius).
Dog-stealer A dog-dealer.
Dog-stiffener A professional dingo-killer. (Australia)
Dog-stiffeners Leather leggings.
Dog-tag Military: A metal or other indestructible identity disc.
Dog's Tail The constellation of the Little Bear.
Dogs that bite Sore feet.
Dog's vomit Meat and biscuits cooked together as a moist hash.
Dog's wife See 'Doggess'.
Dog-throw The lowest throw at dice.
Dog-trick A mean or 'dirty' action or trick.
Dog-vane A cockade (a feather or ribbon worn on military headwear).
Dog-walloper A stick or cudgel. A policeman's baton. (Australia)
Dog-walloping Picking up the ends of cigars and cigarettes.
Dog-watch A corruption of dodge-watch; two short watches, one from four to six in the morning, the other from six to eight in the evening, introduced to 'dodge' (break) the routine, or prevent the same men always keeping watch at the same time.
Dogways Sexual connection like a dog.
Dog-whipper 1. A beadle (a minor parish officer) who whips all dogs from the precinct of a church. At one time there was a church office so called. As recently as 1851 Mr John Pickard was appointed "dog-whipper" in Exeter Cathedral (England).
2. The person who superintends the work of pony drivers and leaders in metal mines.
Dog-whipping Day 18 October (St Luke's Day). It is said that a dog once swallowed the consecrated wafer in York Minster Cathedral (England) on that day. (Didn't go down very well.)
Dog-whistle politics Expressing political ideas in such a way that only a specific group of voters properly understand what is being said, especially in order to conceal a controversial message.
Dolled up like a dog's dinner Stylishly dressed, verging on being over-dressed.
Done up like a dog's dinner See 'Dolled up like a dog's dinner'.
Don't keep a dog and bark yourself Don't pay someone to do a task and then do it yourself.
Eat your own dog food Use the products or services that you or your company produces. (USA)
Enough to make a dog laugh Extremely funny.
Even a dog can distinguish between being stumbled over and being kicked Anyone who is the victim of an unwelcome incident can identify whether the incident was deliberately or accidentally caused. 
Every dog has its day (in the sun) and/or (and a bitch two afternoons) Even the lowliest of beings will have a moment of glory. In relation to the bitch - Help please!
Give a dog a bad name (and hang him) An unfavourable or disparaging adjective about someone (or something) is come across (or invented) which is immediately accepted without corroboration as being true, often with dire results.
Give (someone) the dog to hold To serve a person a mean trick.
Going to the dogs Someone who is deteriorating in appearance, character or behaviour.
Gone to the dogs Someone who has deteriorated in appearance, character or behaviour. This is an analogy to the scraps of waste food that were thrown to dogs from medieval baronial dining tables. The scraps were of no other use. Thus, if someone is said to have 'gone to the dogs', he is also regarded as worthless.
Got up like a dog's dinner See 'Dolled up like a dog's dinner'.
Green Dogs An extinct breed, race or species.
Hair of the dog (that bit you) Almost invariably associated with the consumption of alcohol, this goes back to the old belief that the hair of a dog that bites someone could be used as an antidote against the bad effects of the bite. By extension, another drink or two after a drinking binge would be the cure for a hangover.
Hang dog attitude Used to describe those who relentlessly carry a 'woe-is-me' attitude to life.
Hang dog face Used to describe those who facial expression reflects a 'woe-is-me' attitude to life.
Happy as a flea in a doghouse Very happy.
Have it dog fashion See 'Doggy fashion'.
Help a lame dog over a stile To give help to someone, enabling them to achieve something they couldn't otherwise have achieved. Particularly where the ability of the person in question has been compromised in some way.
Hot-dogging Acrobatic skiing.
If the dog hadn't stopped to take a shit (or any other vulgar expression of excretion!) in the woods, he would have caught the rabbit Said on reviewing an event where the objective hadn't been achieved. To express the opinion that well begun is half done.
If you can't run with the big dogs, puppy, stay on the porch If you're not comfortable with the way other people are dealing with an issue at a higher level than you'd choose, stay out of it! (North America)
If you lie down with dogs, you'll rise (awake, wake up, get up, possibly end up) with fleas 1. If you do dangerous or silly things you will have to suffer the consequences (the implication being that you shouldn't then complain!). 
2. Guilt by association.
3. If you associate with bad people, you will acquire their faults.
In the dog-house In disgrace, in the way a dog may be banished from house to kennel. Alternatively, and more contemporaneously, this expression is also a railroad term dating back to the era of steam locomotives. The railroad unions mandated that a head-end (front of the train) brakeman be so positioned. However, there was no room for another person in the engine cab (which housed the engineer and fireman). The railroads then built a small windowed shelter on top of the engine tender (where the coal and water was stored) behind the engine. It was called a doghouse since it was small, cramped, smoky, cold and generally miserable. Thus, the expression 'he's in the doghouse' referred to the brakeman in his uncomfortable moving shack. (North America)
Isle of Dogs When Greenwich (near London, England) was a place of royal residence, the kennel for the monarch's hounds was on the opposite side of the river, hence called the 'Isle of Dogs'.
It's a dog eat dog world out there See 'Dog eat dog'.
It's a dog's life Expression of resignation to, or about, circumstances - particularly one's own. A person can 'lead' another person a dog's life. 
It's an old dog for a hard road When the task is difficult, experience will be invaluable.
It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog You cannot always tell how tough someone is by judging their physical characteristics. (USA)
It's dogged as does it! Perseverance and pluck win in the end.
It's the dog's bollocks Something that is an example of extreme excellence. One would have expected to find dog's bollocks at the bottom of a scale of merit. Whilst dogs do enjoy licking them, there's no evidence of a link between the activity and the phrase. It is most likely just an audially-effective 'nonsense' phrase, joining a long list of earlier-coined nonsense phrases of excellence such as 'the cat's pyjamas' and 'the bee's knees'.
It sticks out like a dog's bollocks Something that the speaker thinks is patently obvious.
Keep a bad dog with you, and the good dogs won't bite Making friends with the tough guys in the neighbourhood guarantees that no-one else will want to fight with you.
Leading a dog's life Said about someone who is experiencing a miserable existence, often at the hands of someone else, particularly a partner.
Let sleeping dogs lie To leave a situation undisturbed.
Let the dog see the rabbit To offer the opportunity of seeing what's to come; to whet the appetite. Often sexual.
(...working, hunting, cheating, lying) like a dog Do whatever it is that's being done relentlessly, without pause for recovery. Can be used in praise or criticism.
Like a dog in a manger To be spiteful and mean spirited. Like the proverbial dog who slept in a manger not because he wanted to eat the hay there but to prevent the other animals from doing so. Now used allusively to refer to any churlish behaviour of that 'spoilsport' sort.
Like a dog in shoes Making a pattering sound.
Like dog's breath Not pleasant, not popular.
Like a lost dog in the high weeds Being lost with no idea of in which direction to go. (USA)
Love me, love my dog If you love someone, you should equally love that person's loves.
(A) Man's best friend is his dog See 'A dog is (a) man's best friend'.
Make a dog's match of it To have sexual connection by the wayside. (Dis-gust-ing.)
Meaner than a junk-yard dog Guard dogs are generally regarded as the most ferocious (or 'mean') of dogs. Hence this expression reflects how nasty a person is. The line is featured in the 1973 hit 'Bad bad Leroy Brown', written and recorded by the late Jim Croce.
My dogs are barking My feet are sore.
To have not a dog's chance To have no chance at all.
Old dog A lingering antique of a person.
On the dog-watch On night duty.
Pig dog Used as an exclamation to communicate that you are very angry with someone. (Germany).
Puppy's mother See 'Doggess'.
Put on the dog See 'Dog it up'.
Raining cats and dogs Raining very hard. The phrase originated in 17th century England when many dogs and cats drowned during heavy downpours of rain and when rivers burst their banks. Their bodies would be seen floating in the rain torrents that raced through the streets giving the appearance that it had literally rained 'cats and dogs'. Another theory suggests that thunder and lightning represent a cat and dog fight. Yet another theory traces the origin of the phrase to ideas in ancient mythology that cats could influence the weather, and that dogs were a symbol of the wind.
Sad as a hound dog's eye Very sad; pitiful. (North America)
See a man about a dog Given as the reason for departure when one is unwilling to reveal the true nature of ones' business; particularly used when needing to visit the lavatory.
Sometimes you're the hydrant, and sometimes you're the dog There are times when you are the winner or have the advantage in a situation and there are times when you are the loser or at a disadvantage.
Tail wagging the dog An unimportant member of a group is actually directing everyone's activities. The subsidiary part is controlling the major part.
Take an old dirty, hungry, mangy, sick and wet dog and feed him and wash him and nurse him back to health, and he will never turn on you and bite you. This is how man and dog differ Does what it says on the tin!
That dog won't hunt Said about something that isn't ready - and in extremis will never be ready - to do either its job or the job that it was planned it should do.
The Dog Act Any such Act, or part of an Act, of Parliament enabling people to follow a profession even though they are not academically qualified to do so.
The dog before the master Nautical: The heavy swell preceding a gale.
The Dog Collar Act The Transport Workers Act, 1942. (Australia)
The dog-collar brigade The clergy.
The dogs Greyhound race meeting.
The dogs are barking it in the street Something that is supposedly secret, but is very widely known; an open secret.
The dogs haven't dined A discrete comment to one whose shirt hangs out the back.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog A pangram that has been used to test the skills of typists and computer keyboard operators because it is coherent, short, and contains all the letters of the English alphabet. The phrase is frequently misquoted as 'The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog', which does not contain all the letters of the alphabet since it lacks the letter 's'. For this reason, the word 'slow' or 'sleeping' is sometimes inserted into the phrase, or the word 'dog' is made plural.
The sun even shines on a dog's ass some days Sooner or later, everyone experiences some good luck. (USA)
Three dog night Originated with the Eskimos and means a very cold night - so cold that you have to bed down with three dogs to keep warm. (Canada)
To be an old dog at it To be expert at something.
To be on the dog list To be debarred from drinking. (Australia)
To dog away time To idle time away.
To dog (someone) To follow or persistently bother (someone).
Top dog One who is dominant or victorious - in dog fights, the winner comes out on top. Alternatively, sawing logs was often done in a pit with one man in the pit and the other above it, both working the saw. The one above was known as the 'top dog' and the other as the 'bottom dog' (possibly 'under dog').
Two dog night See 'Three dog night'.
Under dog Sawing logs was often done in a pit with one man in the pit and the other above it, both working the saw. The one above was known as the ' top dog' and the other as the 'bottom dog' (possibly 'under dog').
Unless you are the lead dog, the view never changes If you are not the leader, then you will always see the same (unsatisfactory, possibly unpleasing!) things and thus will not be happy. (USA)
Whose dog is dead? A colloquial way of asking someone: "What's the matter?"
You can't teach an old dog new tricks 1. Describes a person who, having over time developed a certain way of doing things, refuses to change their ways, or to learn a new way of doing things.
2. Said by someone about themself, when someone is telling them something already known; the implication that the first person knows more about the subject than the second person.

To browse a wider range of slang and informal expressions visit A Dictionary of Slang -
a regularly updated dictionary of expressions currently in use in Great Britain.

Last updated: 19 July 2012

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