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The Canine in Conversation
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The Entries
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dog diagram spacer dog. (dôg, däg) OE: Docga. n. 1. A noble creature, more so than some humans I could name. 2. A mean contemptible man. 3. A man who steps out…indiscriminately. 4. An u-u-ugly woman. 5. A failure. 6. A friend. 7. His schlong. 8. A business that’s going nowhere. 9. A contraption for holding or grappling. 10. An I.O.U. 11. An inter-city bus. 12. A lascivious dance form of the 1960's. 13. A deformation of the word God, used in profane oaths.
vt. 1. To follow or track. 2. To drive or chase. 3. To fasten or secure. 4. To guard, rare.

 

 

The pages that follow are an alphabetically arranged catalogue of metaphors, similes, adages and idioms that reference dogs. Their order is, therefore, conceptually random. The explications and interpretations of these terms range from a few lines to extensive discussion. While there is no strict formulation, I have tried to include what I know of the origin and development of each term or phrase. Each entry is illustrated. The attentive reader will soon discover that there are many points where entries are inconsistent with some of the larger themes of this collection and with one another. This reflects the realities of the project. The dynamic of a living language, especially one that borrows from as many languages and traditions as American English, will defeat any attempt to find universal explanations for usage.

Considered alphabetically, the first entry is Alpha Male, the description of a social role for which there are perceived parallels between human and canine behavior. The last entry is “You're the Man now dog,” a meditation on race and language based on the most quoted line from a Hollywood movie. In between I have tried to include a comprehensive list of linguistic references to dogs as they occur in contemporary Anglo-American English. Where possible, I have drawn on a range of sources and tried to confirm origins and meanings.

by Alec MacLeod 2001-2008  Dogmatic Technologies Oakland Creative Commons unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material of whatever nature created by Alec MacLeod and included in The Canine in Conversation and any related pages, is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Please read the Terms of Use Agreement by Alec MacLeod Dogmatic Technologies