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cartoon of Soldier (Sad Sack) polishing his nails and at his ease
figure 1  


dogging it. Not working up to potential; deliberately slowing down or exerting less than possible effort; malingering.

“This expression originated in sports and soon was transferred to other endeavors,”reference 1 avers Christine Ammer. Unfortunately, she offers no specifics.

In some circumstances one is expected—or at least pressured by co-workers—to dog it.  One of my first jobs was a temporary one inventorying parts for a sewing machine assembly plant.  In order to avoid boredom, I set a steady pace.  By lunch, more than one of my fellows had asked me to slow down so as not to make them look like poor workers in comparison.  Partly, they did not want to work so hard, and in part, they wanted the job, and therefore the pay, to last as long as possible.



1. Ammer, Christine. 1997. The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

About the illustration: It is purported that in the armed services the process of dogging it, more commonly referred to in that context as “goldbricking,” can be a fine art. Sergeant George Baker's WWII draftee, Sad Sack, demonstrates it here as he relaxes while someone else performs one of the never-ending tasks of service life, painting. © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation.
see also: lazy as a dog; dog days; work like a dog
cf: dogger
Last updated: July 5, 2008
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