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illustration of a man's face giving a Bronx cheer, sticking out his tongue and wiggling his hands by his ears
figure 1  

 

double dog dare ya. Simply to double down, up the ante in response to a dare.reference 1  Or to mock, to deceive, literally “dog-dog,” hence double-dog.reference 2

Michael Quinion found a citation in Chapman’s Dictionary of American Slang dating this turn of phrase to the 1940’s. “Mr Chamberlain also mentions several other forms. As well as the immemorial I dare you, he gives I dog dare you, I double dog dare you, I black dog dare you, and the ultimate challenge that must surely have been impossible to pass up without appearing totally chicken: I double black dog dare you.”reference 3

movie still of a boy dressed in winter clothing with his tongue stuck to a metal pole
figure 2  

The use of the double dog dare is wonderfully vivid in the film A Christmas Story, based on radio pioneer Jean Shepard’s memoirs.  Here the boys up the ante to a triple-dog-dare.reference 4 Click the sound icon to listen if you are interested. click here to hear sound

We still use this phrase.  Dr. Ame Wilson of Ohio University , a dramaturgist, commented on her belly-button piercing: “My students double-dog dared me.”reference 5 So of course she did it.

1. Quinion, Michael. 1999. Double-Dog Dare You. World Wide Words. Accessed Dec 11 2007 from http:// www. worldwidewords. org/ qa/ qa-dou2.htm.

2. Cohen, Israel. 2000. Re: BIN (May) Never Mean BEN! --> Idioms. Discussion of Hebrew Grammar and Etymology. Accessed Sep. 19 2001 from http:// www. shamash.org/ listarchives/ heblang/ 000220 .

3. Quinion.

4. Clark, Bob. 1983. A Christmas Story. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Nov 18.

5. Shulman, Polly. 2003. Cirque Du Soliel: Aiming Too High? New York Times, May 4, 1, 10.
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About the illustration: Figure 1 shows the classic image of a razz or a dare. © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation. Figure 2 is a still from the film A Christmas Story.reference 6  6. Clark.
  Last updated: July 5, 2008
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