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illustration of a woman holding a pie in her lap as a dog and two cats stare up with eagerness
figure 1  


pye dog, pi dog, or pie dog. A vagrant mongrel, esp. in Asia. Literally a pariah dog.

I was surprised that a pie dog was not pied, that is parti-colored or of mixed or crazy colors. (And no, I did not expect it to mean pied in the sense of inebriated!) Instead it comes from the Hindi word, “pahi” which means outsider, plus, of course, dog.reference 1 This is not your common garden-variety idiom and most references are from non-U.S. sources.



1. Pearsall, Judy, and Bill Trumble. 1996. The Oxford English Reference Dictionary. 2nd ed. Oxford, England; New York: Oxford University Press.


About the illustration: Figure 1 shows not a pye dog, but a dog begging for some pie along with a couple of cats. Adapted from an image by Gustav Dore, © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation.

see also: cur; mongrel; mutt; pooch; yaller dog

Last updated: March 27, 2008
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