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The Canine in Conversation
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a hand with the fingers clenched and the thumb extended downward
figure 1  


dog. (failure) A failurereference 1 or a member of a set that, in relation to the norm, is of poor quality.

In this case persons are never dogs, but rather products. Films, plays, and books seem especially susceptible to being dogs. Of course, when Billy Norris of the St. Petersburg Times headlined his review, “Catwoman turns out to be a dog,” the term provided a nice double or even triple entendre, not that anyone has ever suggested that former beauty queen Halle Berry is a dog.reference 2

1. The Oxford English Dictionary Online. 2005. (3d ed.) Oxford University Press. Accessed


2. Norris, Billy. 2004. Catwoman Turns out to Be a Dog. St. Petersburg Times Online, Jul 26. Accessed Apr 18 2008 from http:// 2004/ 07/ 26/ Xpress/ Catwoman_turns_out_to.shtml.

About the illustration: When something is a dog, an audience's reaction or reviewers’ comments are unfavorable. Figure one offers a familiar American hand gesture that signals disapproval. © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation.  
cf: dog (business); dog (woman) Last updated: June 21, 2008
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