from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A domesticated carnivorous mammal (Canis familiaris syn. Canis lupus subsp. familiaris) occurring as a wide variety of breeds, many of which are traditionally used for hunting, herding, drawing sleds, and other tasks, and are kept as pets.
  • noun Any of various carnivorous mammals of the family Canidae, such as the dingo.
  • noun A male animal of the family Canidae, especially of a fox or a domesticated breed.
  • noun Any of various other animals, such as the prairie dog.
  • noun A person.
  • noun A person regarded as contemptible.
  • noun A person regarded as unattractive or uninteresting.
  • noun Something of inferior or low quality.
  • noun An investment that produces a low return or a loss.
  • noun Slang The feet.
  • noun Slang A hot dog; a wiener.
  • noun Any of various hooked or U-shaped metallic devices used for gripping or holding heavy objects.
  • noun Astronomy A sundog.
  • adverb Totally; completely. Often used in combination.
  • transitive verb To track or trail persistently.
  • transitive verb To hold or fasten with a mechanical device.
  • transitive verb To be persistently or inescapably associated with:
  • transitive verb To be recurrently or persistently in the mind; haunt.
  • idiom (dog it) To fail to expend the effort needed to do or accomplish something.
  • idiom (go to the dogs) To go to ruin; degenerate.
  • idiom (put on the dog) To make an ostentatious display of elegance, wealth, or culture.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A quadruped of the genus Canis, C. familiaris.
  • noun In distinguishing sex, a male dog, as opposed to bitch; hence sometimes used in composition for the male of other animals, as in dog-fox, dog-ape.
  • noun plural Canine quadrupeds in general; the family Canidœ (which see).
  • noun The prairie-dog.
  • noun The dogfish.
  • noun A mean, worthless fellow; a currish or sneaking scoundrel: applied in reproach or contempt.
  • noun A gay or rakish man, especially if young; a sport or gallant: applied, usually with an epithet (young, impudent, etc.), in mild or humorous reprobation.
  • noun In astronomy: [capitalized] One of two ancient constellations lying south of the zodiac, known as Canis Major and Canis Minor. See Canis.
  • noun The dog-star.
  • noun A name of various mechanical devices, tools, and pieces of machinery.
  • noun Same as dog-head, 1.
  • noun A sort of iron hook or bar, with one or more sharp fangs or claws at one end, which may be fastened into a piece of wood or other heavy article, for the purpose of moving it: used with various specific prefixes, See cut.
  • noun An iron with fangs for fastening a log in a saw-pit or on the carriage of a saw-mill.
  • noun Any part of a machine acting as a claw or clutch, as the carrier of a lathe, or an adjustable stop to change the motion of a machine-tool.
  • noun plural The set-screws which adjust the bed-tool of a punching-press.
  • noun A grappling-iron which lifts the monkey or hammer of a pile-driver.
  • noun A click or pallet to restrain the back-action of a ratchet-wheel by engaging the teeth; a pawl.
  • noun plural In ship-building, the final supports which are knocked aside when a ship is launched; a dogshore.
  • noun In a lock, a tooth, projection, tusk, or jag which acts as a detent.
  • noun A grab used to grasp well-tubes or -tools, to withdraw them from bored, drilled, or driven wells.
  • noun plural Nippers used in wire-drawing. They resemble carpenters' strong pincers or pliers, and are sometimes closed by a sliding ring at the end of the strap or chain which slides down the handles of the nippers.
  • noun The painted hyena or cynhyene. See Lycaon.
  • noun A short, heavy piece of steel, bent and pointed at one end and with an eye or ring at the other. It is used for many purposes in logging, and is sometimes so shaped that a blow directly against the line of draft will loosen it. Also called tail-hook.
  • noun In agriculture, an implement for dragging brush, roots, and poles out of the ground; a brush-puller.
  • To follow like a dog; follow with or as with dogs, as in hunting with dogs; hunt; follow pertinaciously or maliciously; keep at the heels of; worry with importunity: as, to dog deer; to dog a person's footsteps.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English dogge, from Old English docga.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English dogge, from Old English docga ("hound, powerful breed of dog"), a pet-form diminutive of Old English *docce (“muscle”) (found in compound fingerdocce ("finger-muscle") with suffix -ga (compare frocga ("frog"), picga ("pig")), from Proto-Germanic *dukkōn (“power, strength, muscle”). More at dock. In the 16th century, it superseded Old English hund and was adopted by many continental European languages.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word dog.


  • To illustrate, consider a sentence like ˜A dog barked™, and suppose that ˜dog™ denotes the set X,

    Descriptions Ludlow, Peter 2007

  • For example, in ˜Every dog is a mammal™, both ˜dog™ and ˜mammal™ have personal supposition.

    William of Ockham Spade, Paul Vincent 2006

  • We had a dog, true it was a different one, a ferocious dog…

    The Making of Mr. Putin Tolstaya, Tatyana 2000

  • At the present time, there is not a concert or an opera at Darmstadt to which Mr. S---- and his wonderful dog are not invited; or, at least, _the dog_.

    Anecdotes of Dogs Edward Jesse 1824

  • It's where a dog can be a dog®, and is designed to provide the highest levels of fun, safety and service for campers, and peace of mind for their parents. 2009

  • "'Well, no,' admitted Sykes; 'I see plenty of pieces, but I guess that dog _as a dog_, ain't of much account.'

    The Lincoln Story Book Henry Llewellyn Williams

  • The term "dog days" was coined by the ancient Romans, who called these hot and humid days caniculares dies or "days of the dogs" after the star Sirius -- Canis Majoris, the "Greater Dog," which is one of the hunting dogs of Orion.

    The Full Feed from Donna Henes 2011

  • "This is the reason the term dog days of August was invented," said analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion 2011

  • He is demonstrating abstract thinking when he assigns the word dog to what is clearly not a real dog.

    Testing for Kindergarten Karen Quinn 2010

  • He is demonstrating abstract thinking when he assigns the word dog to what is clearly not a real dog.

    Testing for Kindergarten Karen Quinn 2010


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  • The reason that a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue...

    December 24, 2006

  • A parsing challenge: "Dogs dogs dog dog dogs."

    September 9, 2007

  • God in reverse.

    November 3, 2007

  • "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

    - Groucho Marx.

    December 24, 2007

  • April 22, 2008

  • "And tell the chef that this is low grade dog food."



    October 15, 2008

  • Translation: chick peas. See bean dog.

    October 15, 2008

  • Au contraire, Cisco. Bean dog, not dog, not chickpeas.

    (I take my little monkey dog very seriously. I'm a mama bear, remember.)

    October 15, 2008

  • I was referring to the previous comment, not your Integrated Legume Processing Unit.

    October 15, 2008

  • *rowwrr*

    October 16, 2008

  • Please see my web site, The Canine in Conversation: Dogs in Metaphor and Idiom, Illustrated.

    July 8, 2009

  • Why? Is there something on your website that is etymologically related to "dog"? Are you here to list words and/or join the conversation, or just to promote your website? Not trying to be rude, just asking an honest question!

    July 8, 2009

  • I think you are being a little unwelcoming, c_b. Given the website's name and description, it's not unreasonable to think that it's likely to be of interest to a community of people with a shared interest in words. Just visiting the website would have cleared up your question (and I'm pretty sure you would have found it rewarding - I did). Do we really want to take new members to task for alerting us to fun stuff elsewhere on the web? I hope not.

    Amacleod: The site is terrific, and I look forward to having a chance to read the essay later on. A couple of possible additions to your main entry list might be:

    stress puppy, poodle-faker, turnspit dog, dog's nose, the mutt's nuts

    And I would make the case for adding Tintin's dog, Snowy, to the list of illustrious pooches.

    July 8, 2009

  • Like I said, it was just a question. I post more than my share of links, and certainly don't begrudge the same activity to any other users, new or old. But I get suspicious when a person logs onto the site and posts only 1 or 2 comments that direct people to another site. Hence, my question. *shrugs* Sue me. I'm happy to be wrong in this instance, but I think it's a valid question.

    July 8, 2009

  • I think this kind of link can go on a person's profile, but is borderline spam on word pages. Like chained_bear, "I get suspicious when a person logs onto the site and posts only 1 or 2 comments that direct people to another site." In fact only 1 comment has been made and 0 lists. If a representative of OED came over here and started dropping links to their site and nothing else I'd consider it spam too.

    To me the problem is that there are other ways of doing things, if the noob bothered. E.g. It could have set up a Dog Metaphors open list and invited contributions, perhaps with its site link in the description line. So I think it's okay to probe noob early on and encourage/admonish/welcome/nuke as appropriate.

    July 8, 2009

  • Well, I disagree (ever so respectfully) with the both of you. It wouldn't be the first time. Referring to a new user as 'it' smacks of rudeness, dontcha think, bigears?

    But who died and appointed me arbiter of Wordiquette? So I will butt out and go loose the dogs of faux-etymology on some other random wordpage.

    July 8, 2009

  • I edited it to his/her/it as I wrote it but Wordie was so slow and buggy for me this morning I gave up trying to get the edit to load lest I end up with threepeats. My apologies.

    July 8, 2009

  • Meditatio

    by Ezra Pound

    When I carefully consider the curious habits of dogs

    I am compelled to conclude

    That man is the superior animal.

    When I consider the curious habits of man

    I confess, my friend, I am puzzled.

    July 13, 2009

  • Underdog (noun)

    1. a person who is expected to lose in a contest or conflict.

    2. a victim of social or political injustice: The underdogs were beginning to organize their protests.

    September 26, 2009

  • Dogs: cones or wooden barriers used to prevent horses from working or galloping close to the inner rail, usually used following heavy rains.

    More here.

    November 30, 2010

  • "The corresponding physiological and psychological differences are equally decided, as witnessed in the dispositions and temperaments of dogs, their comparative docility, intelligence, etc., and consequently the uses to which they are or may be put. In the matter of size alone, for example, some toy dogs are tiny enough to stand easily on one of the fore paws of a large dog." --Cent. Dict.

    August 26, 2011

  • nice examples

    May 1, 2012

  • 개는 동반자로서이 너무 귀엽다

    May 20, 2012

  • DOGS ARE awosme!!

    May 20, 2012

  • what is little monkey dog?

    May 27, 2012