horndog. var. horny dog. 1. “Someone who is constantly talking and thinking about sex, always finding the sexual meaning in a phrase, someone who is always looking at other people in a sexual way.”
Webster's Millennium gives us a different definition: 2. “a sexually excited or desirous person.” Despite the Webster imprimatur I could find no solid examples that supported this definition, which is why it is the second not the primary definition.
Informal though the source may be for the primary definition, I was able to locate a number or examples that expressed it well:
“HARD-NOSED HILL SAVED HORNDOG BILL” blares the headline for the New York Post's review of Carl Bernstein's biography of Hillary Clinton, A Woman in Charge. Sadly, her husband and our former president, whatever his virtues and contributions, is the poster boy for this term. Which is not to say that the moniker is necessarily completely accurate. As is clear in the definition from WordReference.com, a horndog is often more than someone who simply cannot keep his pants zipped. While Clinton is clearly a man of large appetites and perhaps a dog in his apparent lack of discrimination when it comes to sexual partners, he thinks about things other than sex and is not the kind of person who peppers every conversation with sexual innuendo.
I am intrigued that the many of the definitions I found on the net were gender neutral. Since “dog” refers to a sexually indiscriminate man and, no matter how you look at it, “horn” would seem to reference an erect phallus, I would not expect it to be applied to women. Nor could I find any instances where it was.
Indeed, someone may be constantly sexually excited and not be a horndog at all. In what appears to be a serious discussion of a medical condition, Today on msnbc.com describes a condition called “persistent genital arousal disorder, or PGAD.” This is described as “a feeling of 'fullness'—a constant engorgement—of the genitals that is unprompted by erotic thoughts or feelings.” While this may seem cause for either laughter or envy, for many of those so afflicted it is “a living hell” We may laugh at those afflicted with erections lasting more than four hours, but those guys can just lay off the juice. This seems credible data, if the story does seem to reflect a level jounralistic pandering. My position is that constant sexual arousal alone does not make one a horndog.
1. denis-a-paris. 2006. Re: Because He's a Horn Dog. WordReference Forums > French > French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais. WordReference.com. Accessed May 17 2008 from http:// forum.wordreference.com/ showthread.php? t=102921.
2. Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (V 0.9.7). 2008. Lexico Publishing Group. Accessed May 17 2008 from http:// dictionary.reference.com/ browse/ horndog.
3. Bishop, Ian. 2007. Hard-Nosed Hill Saved Horndog Bill. New York Post. Accessed May 17 2008 from http:// www.nypost.com/ seven/ 05262007/ news/ nationalnews /hard_nosed_ hill_saved_horndog _bill_nationalnews _ian_bishop.htm.
4. Alexander, Brian. 2008. Always Aroused: A Good Thing Gone Awry. Today. msnbc.com. Accessed May 17 2008 from http:// today.msnbc.msn.com/ id/ 22089700/.
|About the illustrations: Figure 1 is a famous shot of Hill and Bill, probably staged to illustrate the rapprochement of the First Couple after the exposure of L' Affaire Lewinsky. I chose it because this was supposed to be the moment that Bill emerged from the dog house. Also, I think the cactii in the background are quite phallic. It appears without attribution on several sites. This image is taken from nohillaryclinton.com.
Figure 2 illustrates the msnbc article. By Kim Carney. The image, as intended, conveys arousal without lechery or even pleasure. This image is from a news article, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher or the creator of the work depicted. I believe that the use of scaled-down, low-resolution images of this illustration to provide critical commentary on the article that it illustrates qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law.
5. Billhilldance. 1998. nohillaryclinton.com. Accessed May 17 2008 from http:// www. nohillaryclinton.com/ blog/ blog_images /billHillDance.jpg.
6. Alexander, Brian. 2008. Always Aroused: A Good Thing Gone Awry. Today. msnbc.com. Accessed May 17 2008 from http:// today.msnbc.msn.com/ id/ 22089700/.