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The Canine in Conversation
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figure 1

 

dog out. To criticize.reference 1

I found a wonderful example of this expression in a sample interview used in the Handbook of Interview Research. In discussing the obstacles he faces as an African American undergraduate, a respondent said, “Like my rhetoric professor, I used to hate going to that class. She used to dog me out about how I talk, cuz I was just fresh out of highschool, and I used to speak a lot of slang then...”reference 2

Usage is not entirely consistent, however. In the refrain of Stevie Wonder's song “Cold Chill,” the lyrics suggest a different meaning to the phrase:

It was a cold chill on a summer night
Never thought the girlie wouldn't treat me right
It was a cold chill on a summer day
Never thought the girl would dog me out that way.reference 3

Here the reference seems to be more general: to treat him like a dog, to put him out on the street. In his memoir, Shaquille O'Neal uses it in yet again another way, suggesting that to dog out is to chase off or perhaps to take over as top dog.

...I want the young guys to say they're going to take it to me. Like I once asked a little boy, “Can you hoop?”
The young fella said, “I'll dunk on your head.”
I like to see that because that's what it's gonna have to be for the game to get better. I want somebody, in a couple years, to just come and dog me out, just like I am dogging out Dave Robinson and Hakeem.reference 4

1. Algeo, John, and Adele Algeo. 1991. Among the New Words. American Speech 66 (4):388.

2. Dunbar, Christopher, Dalia Rodriguez, and Laurence Parker. 2001. Race, Subjectivity, and the Interview Process. In Handbook of Interview Research: Context & Method, edited by J. F. Gubrium and J. A. Holstein. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

3. Wonder, Stevie. 1995. Cold Chill. In Conversation Peace. Motown. 6:52 min.

4. O'Neal, Shaquille. 2001. Shaq Talks Back. New York: St. Martin's Press.
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About the illustration: Figure 1, entitled “Sneer,” is from Ellen Geist's blog.  
see also: dog (follow) Last updated: April 20, 2014
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