American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of an ancient breed of large strong dogs, probably originating in Asia and having a short, often fawn-colored coat.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A variety of dog of considerable antiquity. A true-bred mastiff is of large size, and very stoutly built. The head is well developed and large, the lips deep and pendulous on each side of the mouth, and the whole aspect noble. This animal is capable of great attachment, and is valuable as a watch-dog.
- n. One of several large breeds of dog (such as bulldogs and Saint Bernards), often used as guard dogs
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) A breed of large dogs noted for strength and courage. There are various strains, differing in form and color, and characteristic of different countries.
- n. an old breed of powerful deep-chested smooth-coated dog used chiefly as a watchdog and guard dog
- An aberrant derivation from Old French mastin (modern French mâtin), from Vulgar Latin *mansuetīnus ("tamed (animal)"), from Latin mansuetus ("tamed"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English mastif, alteration (perhaps influenced by Old French mestif, mongrel) of Old French mastin, from Vulgar Latin *(canis) mānsuētīnus, tame (dog), from Latin mānsuētus, past participle of mānsuēscere, to tame : manus, hand; + suēscere, to accustom. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“At the call the mastiff came up and looked inquiringly at his master.”
“A masty [mastiff] is handsomer to me than the most exact little dog that ever lady played withal.”
“The mastiff is a large, grave, sullen-looking dog, with a wide chest, noble head, long switch tail, bright eyes, and a loud, deep voice.”
“And a magnificent animal he is!" remarked my grandfather; "but although a mastiff is the largest of dogs, I do not think it is as sensible as many others.”
“And a magnificent specimen he is!" remarked my grandfather; "but although a mastiff is the largest and most imposing of the race, I do not think it is as sensible as many others.”
“She never had any children, and was not taxed with debauchery: "No man can say or affirm that ever she had a sweetheart or any such fond thing to dally with her;" a mastiff was the only living thing she cared for.”
“The mastiff is a good fighter, and can kill a wildcat, taking the necessary punishment well, as we found out when we once trapped one of these small lynxes.”
“The teeth -- those great friends of the closet naturalist, which help him to whole pages of speculation -- have enabled him to separate the beaver from the musquash, although the whole history and habits of these creatures prove them to be congeners, as much as a mastiff is the congener of a greyhound -- indeed, far more.”
“I certainly do not recall a mastiff attack on anyone in living memory, mainly because whilst they are huge dogs they are rare, normally gentle and require considerable funds to keep.”
“And I certainly do not recall a mastiff attack on anyone in living memory, mainly because whilst they are huge dogs they are rare, normally gentle and require considerable funds to keep.”
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