Definition of dog in English:

dog

noun

  • 1A domesticated carnivorous mammal that typically has a long snout, an acute sense of smell, non-retractile claws, and a barking, howling, or whining voice.

    • ‘The enamel carried a scene of hunting dogs chasing a hare.’
    • ‘The top five dogs of each breed are invited to attend.’
    • ‘Her attack dog is a mutt, and, as everyone knows, mongrels are healthier than pedigreed dogs.’
    • ‘A woman in Hastings is walking a small dog on a leash.’
    • ‘The neighbor's dog barked relentlessly, giving the night a heartbeat to add to his own.’
    • ‘Mr. Mason's hunting dogs weren't barking their heads off for once, which was new.’
    • ‘Her size makes it impractical to use her as a patrol dog, but her sense of smell is so keen she can detect even trace amounts of drugs.’
    • ‘The sun shone, people were walking the dog, airing the child, spring cleaning their souls.’
    • ‘‘All dogs have an intense sense of smell, and every dog likes to sniff,’ Smith said.’
    • ‘Domesticated dogs arose from wolves that somehow became accustomed to living among people.’
    • ‘He could almost feel them out there; it was time to call the dogs to heel.’
    • ‘Secondly, rabid stray dogs do not observe boundaries.’
    • ‘However, there have been several instances where citizens have been bitten by stray dogs.’
    • ‘He said, ‘It's kind of like a hound dog chasing a rabbit.’’
    • ‘People let their dogs foul in public places and leave it for somebody else to worry about.’
    • ‘Don't overlook books and videos on training hunting dogs.’
    • ‘She heard a car door shut and a muffled voice calming the dog who now went from barking to a whine.’
    • ‘I think it's okay to keep pet dogs on a leash and birds in a cage.’
    hound, canine, mongrel, cur, tyke
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A wild animal of the dog family.
      • ‘To all dog owners, the call goes out, keep you dogs under control day and night, as the lambing season is upon us now and many have been savaged by roaming dogs in some areas already.’
      • ‘Among dogs, the family that preys together stays together.’
      • ‘The thing is Robyn we've got the numbers here and as you said it's quite a large proportion if you like of Wild African dogs in captivity in Australia.’
      • ‘Last night I watched a documentary on the Golden Jackals of Africa - dogs nearly identical to Jasper.’
      • ‘We watched the wild cats and dogs frolicking in the winter sunlight.’
      • ‘In most mammals, adult play is rare, but it is common in dolphins, members of the dog family, great apes and, of course, humans.’
      • ‘In this matter of going, readily do dogs, jackals and the like, know when they move on that they are moving.’
      • ‘Teufel-hunden were originally known as the wild, ferocious mountain dogs of Bavarian folklore.’
    2. 1.2 The male of an animal of the dog family, or of some other mammals such as the otter:
      [as modifier] ‘a dog fox’
      • ‘A male, or dog, otter can range over six to eight miles, far further than a female.’
      • ‘The big dog otter probably got as much of a fright as he did, it about-turned and leapt into the water.’
      • ‘It is obvious therefore that not only pregnant and nursing vixens are killed, but also the dog fox, on whom the vixen and cubs often rely for food.’
      • ‘With his hair tinged by the sun's rays, he looked like a dog fox who'd out-witted his pursuers once again.’
      • ‘The male dog otter measured 41.5 inches in length with a girth of 26 inches.’
      • ‘A member of the waterworks department shot a fine dog otter on the lower Rivington reservoir.’
      • ‘As I made my way back to my car, a dog fox trotted across the road in front of me, stopped, looked me up and down and then carried on, completely unconcerned.’
      • ‘‘I am looking for a young animal, either a dog or a bitch, that has a bit of attitude,’ he said.’
      • ‘In the Landrover in which I was travelling was a large dog fox.’
    3. 1.3the dogsBritish informal Greyhound racing:
      ‘a night at the dogs’
      • ‘People went to football in the afternoon, went to the dogs in the evening and took the train home.’
  • 2informal An unpleasant, contemptible, or wicked man:

    ‘he was interrupted by cries of ‘dirty dog!’’
    ‘come out, Michael, you dog!’
    • ‘By the way, you can keep the pun you wretched journalistic dogs.’
    1. 2.1dated [with adjective] Used to refer to a person of a specified kind in a tone of playful reproof, commiseration, or congratulation:
      ‘your historian is a dull dog’
      ‘you lucky dog!’
      • ‘It's true - I'm a lucky dog.’
      • ‘I thought My God, if all the scenes are as scary as this one; I'm really a lucky dog.’
      • ‘He got up with his hand wrapped around her little waist… that lucky dog!’
      • ‘If that next race is the bottom of the new grade, this lucky dog might have a chance of stumbling into the money again.’
      • ‘There's not much more to be said about it other than she's a lucky dog.’
      fellow, individual, character, wretch, beggar, soul
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 Used to refer to someone who is abject or miserable, especially because they have been treated harshly:
      ‘I make him work like a dog’
      ‘Rab was treated like a dog’
      • ‘‘To say that they treated Victoria like a dog would be wholly unfair,’ he said.’
      • ‘In order to get him to commit you have to treat him like a dog.’
      • ‘I can work like a dog when I have to; as long as my energy is directed at the race car, I can be fairly competitive.’
      • ‘The schools are good so there's no need to work like a dog to pay school fees.’
      • ‘During the Second World War, he treated Sinclair like a dog.’
      • ‘I say it's cruel for us to be treated like dogs in here.’
      • ‘The poor Prime Minister, the dog hasn't even got a bone to show for his efforts.’
      • ‘She talked about the prisoners being treated like dogs by the general.’
      • ‘Why the hell did these cops treat me like a dog in the street?’
      • ‘He continued by declaring, ‘the dictator must die like a dog, because he deserves it.’’
      • ‘It was appalling to see those broken bodies, human beings treated worse than dogs.’
      • ‘Jackie loved my father and my father treated him like a dog.’
      • ‘Tash had enough self-respect to dislike being treated like a stray dog.’
      • ‘They were treated as dogs, they were hungry, and the goddess of justice refused to review their plight.’
      • ‘Do you think this helps explain why today's corporate bosses are treating American workers like dogs?’
      • ‘Well if I hired my old headmaster, I'd treat him like a dog.’
      • ‘The fact is that Addis was not treated like a dog.’
      • ‘The actor plays a guy who is sort of - he's treated like a dog by this gangster, his master.’
      • ‘I was already treated worse than a dog, letting her see me shed tears, only gave her more opportunities to despise me.’
      • ‘Those people put their lives up for this country - and for them - and they are being forced out into the gutter and being treated like dogs.’
    3. 2.3offensive An unattractive woman.
    4. 2.4Australian, NZ An informer or traitor:
      ‘one day she's going to turn dog on you’
    5. 2.5North American A thing of poor quality:
      ‘a dog of a film’
      • ‘There is also an ugly betrayal of Cammie's trust, and, as befits a dog of a play, a shaggy-dog ending.’
      • ‘With a lead clenched less than firmly in his sweaty palm, he then contrived to play a dog of a game in the middle of the second set.’
      • ‘That's why we try to write articles about how to crush on a cutie, find a BF and, yikes, get rid of a dog of a dude before he turns your heart into a pancake.’
      • ‘The only question New Zealand First really wants to ask the Minister is why he came to the House for the first reading with such a dog of a bill.’
      • ‘Move too early, and you might end up backing a dog of a technology.’
      • ‘If he understands that it's a dog of a deal, why do you think he'd consider supporting it?’
      • ‘It's been a dog of a market in the past few months compared with the rest of Asia, but we are still overweight there.’
      • ‘Sounds like a real dog of a human being to have to deal with.’
      • ‘I personally still think it is a dog of a deal but I am glad that he has taken the stand that he has.’
      • ‘So how do you choose from the plethora of contracts on offer to ensure you don't get stuck with a dog of a contract?’
      • ‘Through the select committee process we changed what had been a dog of a bill into a much-improved bill.’
      • ‘Never a truer word as, after a dog of a first half, the second period ran rampant on the back of abject defending.’
      • ‘It is a dog of a day, relentless rain and biting cold fraying the nerve ends of men who like to be in perpetual motion.’
      • ‘One of the great mysteries of Australian political life is why a man who is about to dump a dog of a tax system on an unsuspecting public should appear so smug?’
    6. 2.6 A horse that is slow or difficult to handle.
  • 3Used in names of dogfishes, e.g. sandy dog, spur-dog.

  • 4A mechanical device for gripping.

    • ‘The firm have been making grips for years and these dogs here felt so soft and comfortable.’
  • 5dogsNorth American informal Feet.

    tootsie, trotter
    View synonyms
  • 6dogsUS Horse Racing
    Barriers used to keep horses off a particular part of the track.

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Follow (someone) closely and persistently:

    ‘photographers seemed to dog her every step’
    • ‘Now, by Cavanaugh's estimate, 75 companies were dogging the buyer for the national store account.’
    • ‘Whenever the Democrat arrives in the Midwestern state, he is dogged by a volunteer from the rival campaign dressed as a giant ear of corn.’
    • ‘Since Sally was the only member of the group who would acknowledge Yap's existence, the little gnome dogged her every step, chattering excitedly.’
    • ‘Her mother dogged her heels, asking more about her day.’
    • ‘When Sampras was taking his first steps to greatness, he had a small gang of hopefuls dogging his footsteps.’
    • ‘Doyle hopes to prove his new pet theories on the existence of the supernatural, but when a murder takes place, his own drowned ghost reappears to dog him.’
    • ‘The spurned woman shows up on the cruise as well, dogging the newlyweds' footsteps.’
    • ‘Two NBC guys who have spent four months in the desert dogging the division confirmed that this was a very good thing for reporters who want to report on the action.’
    • ‘It was picture perfect: the sunshine, the breeze, the companionship… and of course, the annoyingly obnoxious group behind us dogging our heels.’
    • ‘Rumours that it may be bought by a private equity group or trade buyer or combination of the two have dogged Allen since the company's formation in 2004.’
    • ‘If something's upsetting her on the home front, she might be trying to get her moms attention - even if it means dogging her.’
    • ‘He is dogged by the determined trio of regional leaders, who want to grab as much from the largest pie as possible.’
    • ‘The riverborne portion of his annual journey was normally its safest part, but this year was different, for someone - or something - was dogging his heels.’
    • ‘That fellow is going to dog him to the gates of St Peters.’
    • ‘The senator complained that he was dogged all week by opponents of the White House plan who dominated news coverage.’
    • ‘I mean, they seem to be dogging you throughout this entire investigation.’
    • ‘He laughs about how the police are still - and probably forever - on his tail, even dogging him on his recent US book tour.’
    • ‘When you have a leader of his passion and effectiveness, you have a media that's very much tracking him and dogging him and trying to find what they can about him.’
    pursue, follow, stalk, track, trail, shadow, hound
    plague, beset, bedevil, assail, beleaguer, blight, trouble, torment, haunt
    tail
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a problem) cause continual trouble for:
      ‘the twenty-nine-year-old has constantly been dogged by controversy’
      • ‘I have to admit that this issue has dogged me most of this week.’
      • ‘Ever thereafter - following his trip to China in 1972 - he was dogged by the fear of assassination.’
      • ‘As for the criticism which has dogged him all season he replied that as long as the manager believed in him he was happy.’
      • ‘The trick, you see, is to put what's dogging you into the proper perspective.’
      • ‘She said one of her hopes was complete recovery from the illness that has dogged her.’
      • ‘A war that ended 30 years ago still dogs us shaping our debates about fighting an entirely different war.’
      • ‘One tournament win doesn't inspire confidence but his play this week has been exceptional, a total contrast to the self-doubt that dogged him in recent times.’
      • ‘This criticism dogged him for his entire career.’
      • ‘And I'm concerned about making a bad first impression, because that could dog me for months.’
      • ‘Sadly, his retirement was dogged by health problems.’
      • ‘Loneliness, grief and despair dogged her at every turn, seemed to follow always in her wake, just out of sight.’
      • ‘The system has been dogged with problems since it came on line in 1999.’
      • ‘Although he was acquitted in 1991, the incident has dogged him ever since.’
      • ‘I'm looking for ways to tackle this constant state of feeling tired all the time, which has dogged me for years.’
      • ‘Shoals of words have been written about the problems dogging our fishing industry - a key generator of revenue.’
      • ‘The school - which has a police officer stationed on site - has been on special measures for five years and has been dogged by problems.’
      • ‘But again and again, he was dogged by scandals of his own making that made him as much of an embarrassment as an asset to the party he served.’
      • ‘It has dogged him all his life, and has, at different times, overwhelmed and almost broken him.’
      • ‘For the last 5-1/2 years this process has been dogged by problem after problem.’
      • ‘These allegations are going to dog him on his final campaign bus tour and he didn't want that.’
      trouble, disturb, worry, plague, beset, torture, torment, rack, bedevil, nag, vex, harass, pester
      View synonyms
  • 2dog itNorth American informal Act lazily; fail to try one's hardest:

    ‘Eric had a reputation for dogging it a little’
    • ‘The disturbing thing is, they aren't even really trying here, and you can tell they're already dogging it a bit in favor of dull, formulaic jazzy folk that would later be their poison.’
    • ‘There were more clashes with the coach after his trade to the Nuggets, including an accusation that he dogged it through his first season in Denver.’
    • ‘He entered the season with a reputation for dogging it when he wasn't the primary receiver.’
    • ‘He loved the game and didn't mind ragging on the players when they were dogging it.’
    • ‘Inside the Ravens' building, the consensus is the running back is not dogging it.’
    • ‘He has dogged it by refusing to debate his ready opponent on the Seven Network this Sunday evening.’
    • ‘Pavel led the league in goals for the second straight year with 59, even though he dogged it for long portions of the schedule.’
    • ‘What sticks out is his Santa Claus ability to know who is working hard and who is dogging it.’
    • ‘The Americans actually were dogging it late in the third as the Germans led 67-65, but Pierce sank a 10-spot on their heads as a part of a 12-0 run to close the quarter.’
    • ‘I know a lot of people made a big deal out of Jones in the national media, but believe me, he dogged it a lot and didn't seem real eager when he had the chance to run routes and line up at tight end.’
    • ‘I'd rather have the hassle for dogging it than put up with that.’
    • ‘His position coach already has said he expects more effort; and he knows folks in St. Louis still say he dogged it last year.’
    • ‘Maybe he has been dogging it all these months in hopes of getting a lot of attention and an extra ration of sympathy kibble.’
    • ‘But his effort indicated he certainly wasn't dogging it.’
  • 3Grip (something) with a mechanical device:

    [with object and complement] ‘she has dogged the door shut’
    • ‘These leaks can sometimes be stopped, at opening ports, anyway, by dogging them down tighter.’
    • ‘She places the child inside the engineering space before stepping through herself and dogging the hatch behind her.’
    • ‘Its convex shape and dogging mechanism made it look as though it were an enlarged part of a submarine, scavenged from some terrestrial scrap yard and grafted onto the bulkhead.’
    • ‘If your maintainers open a hatch, be sure they dog it down.’
    • ‘Now, as he stood within the hyperbaric chamber of the minisub, he watched as Clark went about dogging the hatches.’
    • ‘There was a muted boom as the Captain closed and dogged the ships inner lock shut behind us.’
    • ‘They reached a hatch and wasted no time in dogging it down behind them.’
    • ‘The hatch closed, they dogged it, and checked to make sure everyone was in the seats lining the walls.’
    • ‘She steps through, and closes the hatch, dogging it tightly.’

Phrases

  • dog and bone

    • rhyming slang A telephone.

      • ‘Thus the trouble and strife would walk down the apples and pears and along the frog and toad to use the public dog and bone.’
      • ‘We had little info on this brewery apart from a phone number, so we reached for the dog and bone and had a natter to the owner.’
      • ‘Burly Dad conducts his antique business in a cockney accent on the dog and bone.’
      • ‘Ten minutes later he's on the dog and bone again.’
      telephone, mobile phone, mobile, cell phone, car phone, radio-telephone, cordless phone, videophone, extension
      View synonyms
  • dog eat dog

    • Used to refer to a situation of fierce competition in which people are willing to harm each other in order to succeed:

      ‘New York is a dog-eat-dog society’
      • ‘Labor was effective when it employed direct action against the capitalists, posed a principled and inspirational solidarity movement against the dog eat dog values of the obscenely rich.’
      • ‘So there's a harsh side to the real world of competition; where competition's fierce, it can be dog eat dog.’
      • ‘It's a dog eat dog situation even in the law enforcers' world.’
      • ‘It's dog eat dog in this division, as we've already seen.’
      • ‘‘It's very quiet, the standard is unbelievably high and it's dog eat dog,’ says Maguire.’
      • ‘It was a dog eat dog world, where everything was a competition.’
      • ‘It's dog eat dog, the wonder of free market capitalism in its purest form.’
      • ‘‘It's the most dog eat dog market there is,’ he acknowledges.’
      • ‘It's a dog eat dog world out there and the young need the best qualifications they can get.’
      • ‘They say that in the corporate world it's dog eat dog.’
      merciless, pitiless, cruel, heartless, hard-hearted, hard, stony-hearted, stony, with a heart of stone, cold-blooded, cold-hearted, harsh, callous, severe, unmerciful, unrelenting, unsparing, unforgiving, unfeeling, uncaring, unsympathetic, uncharitable, lacking compassion
      View synonyms
  • a dog's age

    • informal A very long time:

      ‘the best I've seen in a dog's age’
      • ‘I'm going to have to stop uploading pictures to this site soon or the front page will take a dog's age to load.’
      • ‘I haven't actually listened to his speech in a dog's age, but my recollection is that his phrasing actually went like this.’
      • ‘You see, lead in high enough amounts is toxic to the extreme, not to mention fatal, which is why it hasn't been used in a dog's age.’
      • ‘Later that same Sunday, I went to the first major comix/sci-fi convention to come to Boston in a dog's age.’
      • ‘They are taking a dog's age to sort out getting me a tenant and as I passed the six-month anniversary of not living there any more I thought it was time to get someone else on the case.’
      • ‘If you've never seen them before, or haven't seen them in a dog's age, then check out that link.’
      • ‘I was out running last-minute errands this afternoon and ran into a guy I used to work with who I haven't seen in a dog's age.’
      • ‘It was some of the funniest stuff I'd seen in a dog's age.’
      • ‘I'd known him for a dog's age but a little bit of Jer went a long way.’
      • ‘So I've resolved to make use of my day by actually writing some of the stupid top-secret fiction thing which has been hanging albatross-like around my neck for a dog's age.’
  • dogs bark, but the caravans move on

    • proverb People may make a fuss, but it won't change the situation.

  • the dog's bollocks

    • vulgar slang A person or thing that is the best of its kind.

  • a dog's dinner (or breakfast)

    • informal A poor piece of work; a mess:

      ‘we made a real dog's breakfast of it’
      • ‘Mostly though you end up with a dumbed down dog's dinner - serious subject matter made ridiculous and facile.’
      • ‘It all adds up to a dog's breakfast of departmental rivalry, layer upon layer of confused delivery and strategic confusion.’
      • ‘‘The presentation of the policy has been a dog's dinner,’ agreed the Sun.’
      • ‘The edit interface itself is a bit of a dog's dinner.’
      • ‘In design terms it's a dog's breakfast, a grey, smudgy mess that seems to stagger off ancient presses each week.’
      • ‘Speaking after the council agreed to hold the ballot, he said: ‘The wording on the ballot papers is a dog's dinner.’’
      • ‘Just look at the roll call of off-the-wall ‘humour’ imposed on us the last time this dog's dinner of a day came round in 2001.’
      • ‘All in all it is a dog's dinner, literally, with local residents living with the mess and hazard.’
      • ‘It's an eyesore and looks like a dog's dinner of cheapo construction.’
      • ‘‘The proposals are a half-baked dog's dinner,’ he said.’
  • a dog's life

    • An unhappy existence, full of problems or unfair treatment:

      ‘he led poor Amy a dog's life’
      • ‘Face it, it's a dog's life having to raid the dressing-up box for a living.’
      • ‘The payment of salaries is quite often irregular and it is a dog's life for the majority of labourers who go in search of a fortune across the seas.’
      • ‘Selling wine is a dog's life, but some manage it with integrity’
      • ‘Ah me, thought Clarence it's a dog's life and decided that on balance the thing to do was sleep.’
      • ‘The self-evident fact that the numbers applying for asylum correlate precisely with countries where a dog's life would be a step up is of no account.’
      • ‘And the man on street (literally and figuratively) has a dog's life.’
      • ‘He is leading a dog's life at the moment.’
      • ‘Next time you are fed up with the world and say in disgust that it's a dog's life, think twice.’
  • the dogs of war

    • literary The havoc accompanying military conflict:

      ‘the strategy would let loose the dogs of nuclear war’
      • ‘They hate having to break from a comfortable routine and they will cry havoc and loose the dogs of war on anybody who tries to take something from them.’
      • ‘Possible suspensions of civil liberties are something we should all be keeping an eye on now, watchdogs among the dogs of war.’
      • ‘Europe can only keep at bay the dogs of war that tore it asunder twice in the last century if all its parts work intimately with each other.’
      • ‘A peace process does not invariably produce a settlement, but it usually keeps the dogs of war at bay.’
      • ‘Unless we can leash the dogs of war, new kinds of instability will result from this war for peace.’
      • ‘One problem with loosing the dogs of war is that sometimes it's hard to get them back on the leash.’
      • ‘And with the dogs of war in full cry, no politicians in their right mind dared come out in favor of allowing tax dodgers to stick their hands in Uncle Sam's pockets.’
      • ‘The siren song in any war on terror is ‘let slip the dogs of war.’’
      • ‘If Washington calls off the dogs of war, the companies will be allowed to immediately return.’
      • ‘He has no reason to let loose the dogs of war on his neighbours.’
  • dressed (up) like a dog's dinner

    • informal Wearing ridiculously smart or ostentatious clothes:

      ‘look at her, dressed up like a dog's dinner’
      • ‘It is then present day and we are introduced to Mo, a goth dressed up like a dog's dinner with a fuzzball hairdo.’
      • ‘You know, some of the showbiz ladies around here - they go to the shops dressed up like a dog's dinner.’
      • ‘I put the phone down on the bed while I dressed up like a dog's dinner.’
      • ‘If, by chance, you happen upon a fashionista dressed like a dog's dinner, do not be alarmed when she tells you that she's being ‘ironic’.’
      • ‘Who's going to look a silly boy then, all dressed up like a dog's dinner in front of that lot!’
  • every dog has his (or its) day

    • proverb Everyone will have good luck or success at some point in their lives.

      • ‘There comes a time to stop, every dog has its day, and I think I have had mine.’
      • ‘It's not nice to keep losing but every dog has its day.’
      • ‘In parallel with his ascendancy to the top of the NFL tree went his present team, their unlikely transformation from zeroes to heroes last season illustrating that every dog has its day.’
      • ‘But every dog has his day I guess so this one could be it.’
      • ‘After many weeks of shooting in the high 120's and hitting the ball like a dog, his first win for over 2 years proved that every dog has its day.’
      • ‘However, no sooner had I written this than I get to find out every dog has his day, right?’
      • ‘It is said that every dog has his day and it has been a long time between barks for Dick - so well done!’
      • ‘As I said to him after the game, every dog has his day and fair dues to them.’
      • ‘I'm aware that, very, very occasionally a performance is given which astonishes us all, but every dog has his day, and England's problem is having too few of these.’
      • ‘‘Well, you know what they say… every dog has its day,’ he pointed out.’
  • give a dog a bad name and hang him

    • proverb It's very difficult to lose a bad reputation, even if it's unjustified.

      • ‘It could, however, be a case of ‘give a dog a bad name and hang him’.’
      • ‘He explains why ‘as a variant on the popular advice to give a dog a bad name and hang him,’ he proposes to ‘give this piper an exceedingly bad name and hang on to it.’’
      • ‘But give a dog a bad name and hang him, as the saying goes.’
  • go to the dogs

    • informal Deteriorate shockingly:

      ‘the country is going to the dogs’
      • ‘As Anna and I used to say at work, this place has gone to the dogs.’
      • ‘Although the city has developed by leaps and bounds over the years, the cleanliness for which it was known has gone to the dogs, says the collector.’
      • ‘I do not believe that our economy has gone to the dogs as a mistake.’
      • ‘They feel that their countries have gone to the dogs under the leadership of the present generation of politicians.’
      • ‘When the factories closed, everything went to the dogs.’
      • ‘As an adult I love wearing them now my eyesight has gone to the dogs.’
      • ‘Unfortunately not only the army but the country also eventually went to the dogs.’
      • ‘But, to be honest, I'm not stupid, that team has gone to the dogs.’
      • ‘Everybody had to run hard to keep up the real level of their own earnings, while the country went to the dogs.’
      • ‘Law and order went to the dogs after the Whitlam social experiments of excessive welfare, booming populations of single mothers, poor discipline in schools.’
      deteriorate, be in decline, degenerate, decay
      collapse, slump, slip, slide, go downhill, go backwards, go to rack and ruin, stagnate, wane, ebb
      go to pot, hit the skids, go down the toilet, go down the tubes
      go to the pack
      retrograde
      View synonyms
  • have a dog in the fight

    • [usually with negative]Be affected by or have a particular interest in the outcome of a situation:

      ‘you don't even live here, therefore you don't have a dog in this fight’
  • like a dog with two tails

    • Used to emphasize how delighted someone is:

      ‘‘Is he pleased?’ ‘Like a dog with two tails.’’
      • ‘My husband is like a dog with two tails about this holiday having never been on a cruise before!’
      • ‘So Hans was like a dog with two tails, as well he might have been!’
      • ‘My brother was like a dog with two tails when his girlfriend agreed to marry him; he was really happy.’
      • ‘As you can imagine I was like a dog with two tails.’
      • ‘When I entered the room of the carnival party, I was like a dog with two tails but I was a bit anxious because I hadn't learned the poem, that I had to recite by heart.’
      • ‘At last I had my coach; I was like a dog with two tails.’
      • ‘I am not used to being home, my husband is like a dog with two tails, and his excitement at having me here is starting to annoy me.’
      • ‘He was like a dog with two tails, strutting round and showing off his winnings.’
      • ‘After we helped her with her yard, she would enthuse: ‘I feel like a dog with two tails!’’
      • ‘I felt like a dog with two tails, because I was proud to have been in Montgomery's Eighth Army.’
      contented, content, cheerful, cheery, merry, joyful, jovial, jolly, joking, jocular, gleeful, carefree, untroubled, delighted, smiling, beaming, grinning, glowing, satisfied, gratified, buoyant, radiant, sunny, blithe, joyous, beatific, blessed
      View synonyms
  • not a dog's chance

    • No chance at all:

      ‘you wouldn't have a dog's chance’
      ‘a month ago I didn't give him a dog's chance’
      • ‘He says, ‘They are not to blame, they have not a dog's chance - we should be like them if we settled here.’’
      • ‘The Government did aim at that objective, but it has now had to acknowledge that there is not a dog's chance of meeting it.’
      • ‘There is not a dog's chance of that happening.’
      • ‘There is not a dog's chance of the country recovering to the top half of the organisation within a decade.’
  • put on the dog

    • informal Behave in a pretentious or ostentatious way:

      ‘we have to put on the dog for Anne Marie’
      • ‘I suppose I should have worked harder to raise money and put on the dog a little more, but the truth is, I was having too much fun and didn't want to take the time.’
      • ‘Al, with his short curly hair greased back, was putting on the dog and crooning a ballad into a microphone.’
      • ‘Because the companies usually have inked deals before the show with key licensees, why drag the whole staff and put on the dog for three dizzying days?’
      • ‘The CEO put on the dog today as he welcomed customers to the enterprise software company's annual users' conference.’
  • throw someone to the dogs

    • Discard someone as worthless:

      ‘young people look upon the older person as someone to be thrown to the dogs’
      • ‘Just as Joanna is ready to throw him to the dogs, she meets another equally sceptical figure in the shape of Bobbie.’
      • ‘If the film is a hit, it's okay, but if it is not, they are thrown to the dogs.’
      • ‘You threw me to the dogs and now I'm running from the pack.’
      • ‘Then the punters, who have encouraged every vice or flaw, hold up their hands in mock outrage and throw them to the dogs.’
      • ‘I could tell that Jeremiah was planning on throwing me to the dogs.’
      • ‘If he plans for us to do anything more… I'll help you throw him to the dogs.’
      • ‘She devoted her life to you and you threw her to the dogs!’
      • ‘They are already trying to protect Hannah with denials he could possibly have been involved, presumably meaning that they would be willing to throw Libby to the dogs.’
      • ‘I'm willing to throw him to the dogs for leaking about our listening in on the terrorist's satellite phones.’
      • ‘The clear inference was that the Island authorities got wind of the investigation and decided to throw him to the dogs.’
  • you can't teach an old dog new tricks

    • proverb You cannot make people change their ways.

      • ‘Teddy's 75th minute free-kick which wrapped up England's victory had ‘Beckham’ stamped right through it to disprove the theory that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.’
      • ‘I wonder if sometimes doctors think it's unsuitable because they think you can't teach an old dog new tricks.’
      • ‘But I say that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.’
      • ‘Like they say, you can't teach an old dog new tricks.’
      • ‘There is something to be said for that old saying that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.’
      • ‘The latter may account for the fact that it is more difficult for elderly people to learn new motor skills; in other words, you can't teach an old dog new tricks.’
      • ‘He has surprised many by defying the adage that you can't teach an old dog new tricks by adopting a more attacking approach than he normally favours for his teams.’
      • ‘They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but this winter they are finally going to be proven wrong.’
      • ‘‘Well, you can't teach an old dog new tricks,’ Ghost said, ‘But for some, there are exceptions.’’
      • ‘They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but, apparently, you can take some old film ideas and give them a new twist.’
  • why keep a dog and bark yourself?

    • proverb Why pay someone to work for you and then do the work yourself?

Origin

Old English docga, of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

dog

/dɒɡ/