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The Canine in Conversation
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figure 1


bootlick. (verb) To gain favor by flattery, fawning, or obsequious behavior.

Dogs are notoriously obsequious, as is repeatedly stated throughout these entries. They are constantly seeking favor and social recognition. Dogs are also notorious lickers, and often known for licking less than luscious items, so we are not much surprised to find boots among them. Boot licking as a description seems to have fallen out of favor: perhaps this is because the licking of boots is increasingly associated with foot fetishes and bondage and discipline fantasies.

Webb Garrison offers this colorful origin, “Returning from a day in the woods, hunters often had bloody boots. Hungry curs, running up to them, would fight over the privilege of licking off the blood.”reference 1

1. Garrison, Webb B. 1992. Why You Say It: The Fascinating Stories Behind over 600 Everyday Words and Phrases. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. 46.

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About the illustration: Figure 1 is a most apt cartoon. The caption, in which the man having his boots licked tells the licker that there are two feet needing attention, is a reminder that there are those who like being flattered and fawned over. The cartoon is of unknown origin. This is borrowed from the Waikato [New Zealand] Burn Support Sponsors page. I am not at all sure what relevance it has to that site and even less sure about the image's provenance.
see also: lick one's chops; lick one's wounds Last updated: June 6, 2008
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