Thirteen dog idioms and sayings

“The weatherman said we’d be raining soon.”

The English language is full of idioms — a combination of words with a figurative meaning that’s different from its literal meaning — and that includes such expressions that use “dog” or “dogs.” How many of these have you heard? Are we missing any? Let us know in the comments:

“Why keep a dog and bark yourself?”

Meaning: Why hire someone to do something, then do it yourself?

“That dog won’t hunt.”

Meaning: That won’t work, forget it.

“My dogs are barking.”

Meaning: My feet hurt.

“Three dog night.”

Meaning: Very cold; referring to the number of dog to cuddle up with to stay warm.

“Dog days of summer”

Meaning: The hottest weeks of summer, from early July to early August; this is also when Sirius, the Dog Star, rises and sets with the sun.

“Dog my cats!”

Meaning: Oh my!

“A dog’s breakfast/dinner.”

Meaning: A mixture of all kinds of things.

“I’ve got to go see a man about a dog.”

Meaning: I’m going to the restroom.

“Sad as a hound dog’s eye.”

Meaning: Very sad, indeed.

“Like a dog with two tails.”

Meaning: Very happy.

“It’s a dog-eat-dog world.”

Meaning: Take what you want and only look out for yourself because that’s what everyone else is doing.

“Gone to the dogs.”

Meaning: Something has lost all its good qualities and gone bad.

“Raining cats and dogs.”

Meaning: Very heavy rainfall.

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